Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chitty Chitty Bang BANG!

So Henry Ford transformed manufacturing as we know it with that whole assembly line thing. So what? You should see what Mazda's got going on.

In the summer of 2006, 4700 (or so) Mazda vehicles spent a few weeks longer at sea than they were supposed to, at an angle they were definitely not supposed to (60° to be exact), and by the time they were brought to shore, Mazda faced the challenge of how to dispose of self-same vehicles. No amount of entreaties to sell them cheap, donate them to needy causes, or provide them to studious students could sway the stalwart automobile maker. Each of those avenues was deemed a potential, eventual threat to the Mazda reputation.

And therein lay the rub. Destroying o'er $100 million of automobiles is not such an easy task. Who knew? Engineers were brought in. Minds were bent. Plans were drawn. Gadgets were developed that would blow six air-bags simultaneously (saving oodles of hours, days, weeks, of work). Math problems abounded - if one airbag takes a half hour to blow up individually, and each car has six air bags, and there are 4700 cars, and the set up of each car requires 15 minutes, how many cups of Starbucks will the workers drink before all the bags are blown? Indeed. You know, someone should have told Mazda about the Dr. Goodspeed method of airbag destruction.

There's a pretty cool video here, by the way

Didn't we learn in school that destruction is easier than construction - or something like that? Inertia vs ertia (there's another one of those non-words that should be a word... can anyone tell me why "ertia" isn't a word?). Evidently, sometimes it is easier to build than to blow up. And isn't that special?

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