Japan Nissan Smart Plant
Robotic arms work on the Ariya model on the assembly line at Nissan's plant in Kaminokawa town, Tochigi Prefecture, on Friday. Photo: AP/Yuri Kageyama
tech

Smart robots do all the work at Nissan's 'intelligent' plant

30 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

Nissan’s “intelligent factory” hardly has any human workers. The robots do the work, including welding and mounting. They do the paint jobs and inspect their own paint jobs.

“Up to now, people had to make production adjustments through experience, but now robots with artificial intelligence, analyzing collected data, are able to do it. The technology has developed to that level,” Nissan Executive Vice President Hideyuki Sakamoto said during a tour of the production line for the Ariya sport-utility vehicle at its Tochigi plant.

The factory is set to be up and running sometime before April, according to Nissan Motor Co.

Its assembly line is designed so that all three types of models — electric; e-Power, which has both a motor and an engine, and those powered by regular combustion engine — can be built on the same line. Each vehicle is equipped with the right powertrain as it moves along the line.

The workers at the factory can focus on more skilled work such as analyzing data collected by the robots, and on maintaining the equipment.

All automakers are working on robotic technology that can increase adaptability and enable them to respond quickly to market demand.

During the tour, giant mechanical arms equipped with large displays shone light from the displays on to the car’s surfaces from various angles so that cameras could detect the tiniest flaws.

A mechanism quickly wound wires around a metal object that looked like a giant spool, a motor part that Nissan is using to replace magnets now used in electric vehicles. The company says the innovation eliminates the need for rare earth materials, cutting costs.

Nissan said the innovations being tested in Tochigi will be gradually rolled out at its other global plants, including French alliance partner Renault’s factories.

Sakamoto said it was difficult to estimate exactly how much the fully automated assembly line will save.

But he said manufacturing needs to adapt to labor shortages, to the coronavirus pandemic and to lower carbon emissions to help mitigate climate change.

Nissan says that by 2050 it hopes to achieve carbon neutrality across its operations and the life cycle of its products, which includes raw material extraction, manufacturing, use and recycling.

A new kind of paint that enables vehicles’ bodies and bumpers to be simultaneously painted and baked reduces energy consumption by 25%, the company says.

Before, vehicle bodies, which are aluminum, and plastic bumpers had to be painted separately at different temperatures.

Nissan is expecting to regain profitability in this fiscal year, but like other automakers, it is contending with parts shortages caused by the pandemic.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


30 Comments
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Excellent. There will no longer be Friday Lemons unless the robots get angry for being overworked.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Smart robots do all the work

Can those robots work in the office and business to make and execute better strategy and company?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Used to teach at a high-tech fab. Workers weren't even allowed on the floor except for a weekly recalibration. There was a viewing window, and it was fun to watch the little robots darting about with their parts.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It looks like human workers are no longer needed in the future.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

better start taxing companies and making a universal basic income so that these productivity gains go to people otherwise embrace mass unemployment

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Artificial intelligence that creates the combustion engine .

That's very smart !

We are doomed.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It looks like human workers are no longer needed in the future.

Hopefully in the future with this tech and robotics, no humans will need to work in any manufacturing.

I hope Nissan will revive itself after all their problems. I remember the great times of the 80s/90s, the high point being the R32 GTR, Nissans best car ever. Can they get back to these times?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

No humans necessary. No jobs available. Welcome to the future.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Ridiculous how it says the company is adapting to labor shortages and reducing carbon emissions by using robots to make combustion engines and not hiring human employees.

Using free plastic to make vehicle parts and acting environment conscious.

Is it biodegradable plastic ?

Just what we don't need is more cars.

Its all lies and misrepresentations for a large company to make money .

Nothing smart or intelligent about it at all.

Definitely artificial tho

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Take a positive view! Someday humans will no longer have to work! We can just sit around enjoying life all day. For a while there will only be engineering jobs for designing the machines, but the machines will take that over too one day. We won't need an income because everything will be provided by machines.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Welcome to mass unemployment!!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Enjoy artificial life .

That concept is difficult to embrace.

Try enjoying and protecting whats already here .

Instead of focusing on what we don't have.

Artificially creating a recipe for disaster and naming it smart technology.

Soon it will be too artificial to be called human or man made.

Nature is fully sustainable and doesn't need humans ruining it by pretending to be the great caretaker's of the planet.

Its all ridiculous.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Given recent events, replacing Nissan executives with tech would save a lot more money and a lot more problems, than replacing the workers. Politicians aren't cheap either. Maybe we should be looking to replace them with technology.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Good for Nissan executives, but I fear for the future of humanity. So many people are out of work, and yet they say there is a labor shortage that the robots will help fill? Really? (My guess is that many ordinary people would be happy with the security of a simple job in a factory.)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ok, but how about this?

There must be smart, automated robots making smart, automated robots in some factory, right?

Robots making robots in the dark.

That sounds like a great song title.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Who is going to buy all the things robots make when we don't have any decent jobs or money?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

R32 GTR, Nissans best car ever

I wish I could click the plus sign twice for that comment. A few right hand drive R32 Skyline GTRs are on the road in California and are quite legal here. I saw one and, wow, just wow. It's on my personal Holy Grail list.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That sounds like a great song title.

Robot Love

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the workers no longer own the means of production, we are post union post socialst post capitalist dystopia

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Don’t blame the Nissan robots (or the cars) for taking away jobs for the millions.

I have had many cars throughout my life including several Nissans and they have been good. Sunny, Bluebird, Cube, and two Skylines, R33 GTR, & R34 GTR.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think this is good, because there will be no need to import low payed workers from foreign countries. Though majority of people working in factory are Japanese but young Japanese people avoid factory work due to low pay. Even tiny immigration reduction is a big positive. Anything that relies on them needs automation.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

SpeedToday 08:31 am JST

No humans necessary. No jobs available. Welcome to the future.

I don't think so. Somebody must design, construct and install all these robot machines and there will be regular maintenance required. There is also work like preparing all the required materials for assembling a car etc.

Also additional quality control will be necessary, you cannot expect robots to work without any production mistakes.

About jobs, perhaps less employees for simple manual work, however there will still be jobs for people with higher qualification in future.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Artificial intelligence

Should re name it superficial intelligence

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Even though unpaid and relentless robots are doing the job, consumers have never seen any decrease in car prices.

We don't all need cars with all the today functionalities proposed (most will not be that useful).

When there will be no one able to build something with their own hands, we'll understand that there is a limit even to the (Eart's) sky.

I am all for robotization but not with the profit-only intent.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Domo arigato Mr roboto

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Who is going to buy all the things robots make when we don't have any decent jobs or money?

We'll all be on benefits.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Doesn’t help me to buy one of their cars, so it’s completely irrelevant, if produced by amoebas, humans, robots or aliens. lol

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Also additional quality control will be necessary, you cannot expect robots to work without any production mistakes.

The article says: “Up to now, people had to make production adjustments through experience, but now robots with artificial intelligence, analyzing collected data, are able to do it. The technology has developed to that level,” 

It sounds like the robots do their own quality control too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No more need for the Eikaiwas to dispatch teachers to Nissan. The robots there can teach the "human" employees how to speak English for FREE!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So I take it Nissan has agreed to have their company tax rate increased?

Because if your not paying a bunch of humans that go on to pay income tax, then you are causing the state to lose money and people to be unemployed.

Your tax rate should probably be doubled. Maybe tripled.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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