The bodyshop and paintshop in BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, US, have long been dominated by cage-bound industrial robots that take on monotonous, dangerous or high-precision tasks such as welding and heavy lifting.
But robots were more scarce on the final assembly line, as workers need to perform intricate tasks in the vehicle interior without the risk of being clobbered by a heavy robot arm.
Now BMW is bringing robots out from behind their cages to work side-by-side with workers on the assembly line. Lightweight “collaborative” robots manufactured by Denmark’s Universal Robots help to fit doors with sound and moisture insulation, a task that previously required workers to use a manual roller that risked straining older workers’ wrists.
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