Rob Brown: “Re your automation column yesterday, here’s a good one: ‘The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.’ I’d also read about automated factories that ran in the dark due to no humans. Quick Wikipedia search reveals …”
Existing “lights-out factories”
FANUC, the Japanese robotics company, has been operating a “lights out” factory for robots since 2001. “Robots are building other robots at a rate of about 50 per 24-hour shift and can run unsupervised for as long as 30 days at a time. Not only is it lights-out,” says Fanuc vice president Gary Zywiol, “we turn off the air conditioning and heat too.”
No: seriously. Have you seen these?