Japanese robotics slowly replacing humans to boost productivity
Japanese robotics industry continue to surge, the automation ultimately leads to a higher level of productivity at the same time fixes labor shortage.
As Japan’s business sector ages along with the country’s aging workers, construction companies are forced to look for ways to boost productivity and efficiency.
Japan already employs over thousands industrial robot replacing human workers, although not entirely. Robot workers in Japan are more important than any other nation to counter high labor costs and to support further mechanization of its industries.
“Productivity has boosted by five to 10 times through automation and we’re not at the site all night like we used to be. You don’t even have to be highly skilled anymore to get the work done,” Oya said.
“The burden has been reduced on our workers and on management. Work is completed in half the time it used to take.”
Tomoaki Ogi, a manager at the civil engineering technology division at Shimizu who helped develop the robot, stated, “This is a realization of human-robot collaboration.” Robots will not be replacing humans entirely, according to Atsushi Fujino. “There are things that only people can do, for example, getting small corners done or interiors that require artisan skills,” Fujino said. “Machines and humans excel at different levels.”
Robot workers patching labor shortage
Every year, Japanese researchers roll out a new robotic invention, from robot chicken to robot vacuum cleaner. According to the Japan Federation of Construction Contractors, there will be 1.28 million fewer construction workers by fiscal 2025 compared with fiscal 2014.
In 2015, some 30 percent of all construction workers were aged over 55, while those below 29 accounted for only about 10 percent, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
Japan’s service sector accounts for about 70 percent of its economic output. Its labor productivity is 40 percent less than in the U.S., according to Japanese government estimates. The contrast puts a strain on the industry sector and now companies like McDonald’s are cutting back on the number of 24-hour outlets.
Robotic receptionists at Hotels in Japan
Many of the robots CNBC visited at banks, restaurants, and stores in Tokyo were not fully embraced by consumers for their usefulness. Rather, they were seen as a novelty to play and interact with momentarily while waiting, according to CNBC report.
Henn-na Hotel outside Tokyo staffing Japanese robotics. It is the second robot-operated hotel to launch in Japan. It is located just outside the Disney theme park in Urayasu. The robot-hotel is planning on expanding around the world over the next five years, reports The Japan Times. Henn-na is a play on a word for strange in Japanese. During the opening ceremony for the hotel. The CEO, Hideo Sawada said “[the goal] is not about being strange, it’s about transforming and evolving.”
There are 140 robots staffing the hotel. A skeleton crew of seven people to handle emergencies in any of the 100 rooms that the robots can’t handle. A robot porter carries your bags to your rooms, and robots handle window cleaning and vacuuming.
The Robotics industry is more important in Japan than any other country in the world. Japan employs over a quarter of a million industrial robot workers. In the next 15 years, Japan estimates that number to jump to over one million and they expect revenue for robotics to be near $70 billion by 2025.