INTRODUCTION: The world's largest-ever exhibition of robots and automated factory equipment has gone on display in Brighton, England.
SV Thatcher and official entering exhibition.
SV Thatcher being shown machine.
SV Robot paint sprayer.
SVs Robot for welder in operation. (2 SHOTS)
SVs Robot for removing plastic mouldings. (3 shots)
SVs Mrs Thatcher being shown deburring machine. (4 SHOTS)
SVs Thatcher watching robot chess player. (2 SHOTS)
SVs Humanoid robot pouring coffee. (4 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The world's largest-ever exhibition of robots and automated factory equipment has gone on display in Brighton, England. One-hundred and forty-five companies from nine countries were represented at the show, which was formally opened by Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher, on Monday (18 May).
SYNOPSIS: In spite of the international flavour of the show, Mrs Thatcher was clearly hoping to see British expertise on display. In the end she got her way. Despite the fact that Britain lags well behind both the United States and Japan in the use of robots in industry, there were plenty of examples of British craftsmanship available to be admired -- or brought.
One was this automatic paint sprayer, which has just been bought by three major manufacturers to replace people in one vital stage of car manufacture.
Another was this automatic welder, also widely used in motor manufacturing.
Britain has about 400 industrial robots in use.
One of the greatest advantages of robots is that they can perform dangerous or unpleasant tasks without risk of injury. One such job is removing mouldings in plastic manufacture. Another is deburring, or removing razer-sharp filing left after metal cutting operations. The robot manufacturers say the chief advantage of automation is increased productivity. Robots do things faster, and sometimes better.
Not all displays had a serious economic purpose. Some were more like big, expensive toys, like this chess-playing robot, eager to do battle with grand masters and amateur enthusiasts alike. Mrs Thatcher was intrigued, but not tempted.
This robot was designed for the home. It makes coffee and tea, and it's so successful that a production plant has already been set up. Robots do need weekends off work, and they don't need sleep or get ill.
That say the manufacturers, is their biggest appeal.