|Blending of New and Traditional Technologies - Case Studies (ILO - WEP, 1984, 312 p.)|
|ANNEX: SELECTED EXAMPLES OF EXPERIMENTS AND PROJECTS*|
17. Food robots (Japan). Robots are being used in small Japanese restaurants. Some examples are: an egg-breaker, a sushi-squeezer, a gyoza-packer, a Yakitori-piercer, warped food-maker, and egg-frier, etc. They are known to perform as well as professional cooks, at a speed nearly 10 times that of a human cook.12 A small Tokyo company (Suzumo Machinery Works) holds the patents on sushi robot. It has sold 1,500 units in Japan and 30 in the United States. In 1982, Suzumo began selling a robot that, with a robotic arm and claws, makes rice patties. It is reported that quality is excellent and the speed is impressive, 1,200 an hour, or three times faster than an experienced sushi chef.13 The fish however still must be sliced by hand and stacked on the rice patty. Here then is an appropiate example of combining the new technology with labour-intensive operations rather than replacing the latter altogether.
18. Industrial robots (Japan). Shima Seiki Company employing 310 workers has an army of mechatronics which produces three times the output with the same number of employees. Its product is a knitting machine, of many varieties. With the introduction of the NC machine tools, the company can adjust and adapt to the changing requirements of customers.14
19. Automation of traditional wood products industry (Japan). Manufacture of Japanese wooden products is concentrated mainly in small firms, which are rapidly introducing NC-machine tools and robots in order to be able to withstand competition from other firms. For example, Hikari Furniture Co. introduced ten NC-machine tools in 1981, and subsequently installed painting robots and transfer robots; Furuyama Sangyo bought an NC-machine tool the cost of which was shared with the machine-tool maker and the NC-maker.15
20. Automation in sheep shearing (Australia). The cost of shearing sheep by hand is becoming prohibitive in Australia. Therefore, the Australian Wool Corporation has sponsored a research project to develop a fully automatic and numerically-controlled mechanism for sheep-shearing. Future research will concentrate on producing a robot shearer which would be owned by contractors and leased to farmers for short periods.16