Nissan claims its new manufacturing robots are as good as its ‘takumi’ master technicians

The rise of the machines?
by Drei Laurel | 3 days ago
PHOTO: Nissan
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There’s no feeling quite like owning a car that you know was worked on by the best of the best by hand. Simply put, you just can’t replicate the personal touch of someone who cares about their work.

Or can you?

Nissan recently unveiled a brand-new production line at its Tochigi manufacturing plant in Japan as part of its Intelligent Factory initiative. It features groundbreaking new car-building tech, including robots that the brand claims are capable of reproducing the work of its takumi master technicians.

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If you’re familiar with the takumi, you know Japanese carmakers hold them in extremely high regard. To say that lifeless robots performing automated tasks can replicate the work of individuals who’ve dedicated their lives to the craft of building cars is pretty bold, but Nissan seems confident.

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According to the brand, circumstances call for further integration of robotics into its manufacturing operations. Factors for this decision include an aging Japanese workforce, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The automotive industry is in a period of great change, and solving the global challenge of climate change is urgent,” Nissan executive vice president of manufacturing and supply chain management Hideyuki Sakamoto said in a statement.

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“We see this as an opportunity to build the strength of monozukuri (manufacturing), a part of our DNA, to develop and apply innovative technologies to overcome the challenges we face.”

Besides the implementation of takumi-level robots, Nissan hopes this initiative will also improve the overall working environment for human staff, as well as help usher in an age of zero-emission car manufacturing.

What about you? Can you imagine an auto industry the builds cars entirely using robots? A reality like this is probably a while off, but it’s increasingly beginning to look like a real possibility.

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PHOTO: Nissan
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