Posted by: 12. November 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing?


An automated beer pouring device amuses this thirsty traveler in the JAL lounge at the Narita airport in Tokyo.

Automation is considered to be a good thing by most people. Even those displaced by it usually find that what they are able to do now is better than what they had to do before. Let the robot load and unload blanks on the turning center. Tool setting, programming and measurement are much more interesting and less mind-numbing than machine load/unload. Today, manufacturing is about value-add. The more value one can add, the more valuable that person is to the organization, which brings me to this video link. 

I came across this in the JAL lounge at the Narita airport in Tokyo as I waited to depart for the States. My colleague, Derek Korn, shot this footage of automated beer pouring. Now, I am not a zealous advocate of spirits, but I must admit that the sheer fascination of watching this device pour a perfect pilsner time after time may have encouraged me to imbibe one or two more beverages than I planned.

To me, this is automation well applied because what results from it is a consistent, high-quality end product that I, for one, would not be able to duplicate over time. That in large part is what automation is supposed to do—make the inconsistent more consistent. At the same time, it allows the human element to pursue more gainful endeavors—like drinking beer. For more examples of well-applied automation, click here, here and here.  

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