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Mercedez-Benz employs humans instead of robots in its assembly line

Customised requirements have demanded the increased involvement of skilled human workers in Mercedes-Benz’s assembly lines.

Ever heard of an industrialized company reversing its decision on automating its assembly lines and preferring humans instead of robots? In what is an eye opener, Mercedes Benz has replaced some of its high-tech robotic engineers in its assembly lines with humans.

As it turns out, we humans still have a place in a highly mechanized company. Todays robots, as it turns out, can’t handle the degree of customization required for Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class sedans which require four different types of caps for the tires, not to mention options for carbon fiber trim and temperature-controlled cup holders.

"Robots can't deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today. We're saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people," said Markus Schaefer, the head of production at Mercedes-Benz.

What is remarkable about this development is that it comes at a time when companies are increasingly replacing human workers with their robotic equivalents. The robots are not only a lot more efficient in their working and don’t demand yearly raises as well.

As per a survey from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR),, more than 13 million industrial robots will be used by 2018. In fact, for the period of 2013-2014, their usage has risen by a whopping 43%.

However, it turns out, robots are better suited at repeatedly doing the same task over and over again instead of being able to adapt to new ones.

"The variety is too much to take on for the machines. They can't work with all the different options and keep pace with changes," explained Schaefer.

The robots still have their place at Mercedes-Benz though. They work alongside their more squishier colleagues.

Debashish Mukherjee

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