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posted by martyb on Wednesday January 19 2022, @07:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-has-begun dept.

Now You Can Rent a Robot Worker:

Polar Manufacturing has been making ​metal ​hinges, locks, and brackets ​in south Chicago for more than 100 years. Some of the company's metal presses—hulking great machines that loom over a worker—date from the 1950s. Last year, to meet rising demand amid a shortage of workers, Polar hired its first robot employee.

The robot arm performs a simple, repetitive job: lifting a piece of metal into a press, which then bends the metal into a new shape. And like a person, the robot worker gets paid for the hours it works.

​Jose Figueroa​, who manages Polar's production line, says the robot, which is leased from a company called Formic, costs the equivalent of $8 per hour, compared with a minimum wage of $15 per hour for a human employee. Deploying the robot allowed a human worker to do different work, increasing output, Figueroa says.

"Smaller companies sometimes suffer because they can't spend the capital to invest in new technology," Figueroa says. "We're just struggling to get by with the minimum wage increase."

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 19 2022, @09:00PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 19 2022, @09:00PM (#1213945)

    Back in the late wire-wrapping days, we had a couple of employees who built our wire-wrapped prototypes. They did a good job, as good as you can with wire wrap, but... they were people, people who had a bad habit of leaving when it got hot in Miami to "visit their sick mothers in New York," and then when it would get cold in New York they would show up in Miami again and ask if they could have their old job back. Well - good wire wrap techs are hard to find, so we did take them back through about 5 cycles of this, but... one July we wanted a prototype, and we didn't want to wait until October-November to get it started, and we didn't really want it wire wrapped anyway, so, for less than the cost of 6 months of their salaries we got a circuit board milling machine - and while it wasn't perfect, it was better in so many ways, particularly if you wanted more than one of something... and the wire wrappers didn't get their jobs back this time when they showed up in October, but on her last trip out of the building one did manage to slip and fall on the same doorstep they had used every work day for 7+ years without incident, and that initiated a lawsuit that drug on for another 7+ years.

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