Canon To Ditch Employees, Use Robots To Build Cameras

Electronics manufacturer Canon is planning a shift from human to robot made cameras. Company spokesman Jun Misumi revealed to the SeattlePI this week that the move will help drastically reduce costs for the company and that the same strategy is being mirrored by various other manufacturing company’s throughout Japan.

According to Misumi, Canon officials are hoping that their operations will be fully automated by 2015, although that date is a “best case scenario” which means it could take even longer for the company to go automated.

Misumi says that the change won’t lead to job cuts at Canon as workers will simply be transitioned into new roles as their tasks are taken over by robots.

The move to transition Canon’s production to robots comes at a time when manufacturing jobs are being lost to Asia, China and India thanks to lower labor costs and government tax structures.

Canon has constantly been working to create a more efficient manufacturing process, for example the company recently moved over to “cell production” which requires workers to put together a major part of each camera, rather than focusing on an assembly line that requires each worker to focus on a single task repeatedly.

Recently robots joined the “cell production” cycle in a process Canon refers to as “man-machine” cell production.

While Canon will phase out the human element for some products, certain hardware options will still be manufactured by humans, at least for the foreseeable future.

Do you think robot based production is the wave of the future as labor costs continue to steadily increase around the world?

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