Tuning new system

Posted Wednesday, Jan. 01, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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In the early 1980s, General Motors embarked upon an enormous investment in automation. In 1985, it opened its showcase: the new Hamtramck factory in Detroit, had 50 automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) to ferry parts around the plant, and 260 robots to weld and paint. It turned out not to be such a good idea.

The production lines ground to a halt for hours while technicians tried to debug software. When they did work, the robots often began dismembering each other, smashing cars, spraying paint everywhere, or even fitting the wrong equipment.

It takes time to get new systems up and running correctly. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had a rocky start but give it time and it will be as dependable and efficient as the other government programs Medicare and Social Security.

— Ron Lowe, Bayview

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