Telefacturing – A Paradigm for the 21st Century
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INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING – VOLUME: 47 NUMBER: 6
By Behrokh Khoshnevis
In recent years, the costs of factory operations keep rising. One of the main driving factors is the high labor cost. To optimize it, a new paradigm such as telefacturing is needed. Telefacturing separates the workforce and the factory. The factory can be built in locations with manufacturing advantages such as low land prices and tax rate, while the workforce can work from preferable areas such as metropolitan and urban areas. Workers will control robots and other telecontrollable accessories to operate the factory. This is possible with the application of state-of-the-art technology in remote sensing, haptics systems, remote actuation mechanism and telecommunication.
The telefacturing approach offers several advantages such as reducing injuries, human error, and cost. Telefacturing reduces human exposure to hazard as everything is operated from far away. Human error may occur when worker does the wrong thing at the wrong time, resulting in injury or broken machinery. Telefacturing will save more operating and overhead costs since the factory can be located in remote cheap land with access to electricity and highways and the factory does not have to conform to basic human needs, save for some engineers and technicians. It is also environmentally friendlier than the conventional way since workers do not have to travel away from their home to the factory, reducing the use of fossil fuel and the load on the traffic system.