Ramen and Automation
Every time I see the characters sipping ramen in a Korean drama, I crave for its taste and have the noodle myself. The “aroma” and “unforgettable taste” lures me to execute this strange habit once in a while.
Today I am going to talk about Nissin cup noodles (ramen, https://www.cupnoodle.jp/uragawa/), which is one of the JP food innovations still evolving ever since 1971. Considering the nutritious factors, its high salt intake, high calory, and high additive negatively impacts our health, so I don’t strongly recommend to eat this meal in a daily basis, however, as I described in the beginning, many people depend on this food. According to some data, Japanese living in the Northern region consume this product average 80 bowls a year, because the food can be stocked for months when Northern part of the country may be stuck in the snow preventing them from going shopping for days.
The one that I like is the regular type. It is a mixture of fish, meat, and egg. The essence of variety of ingredients are squeezed inside. Another ritual is that you have to wait to eat for 3 minutes. Usually, after pouring the hot water, bend the flap of the paper lid, and leave the chopstick on the lid so that it won’t open up. Waiting deliberately for 3 minutes is important, since it stimulates your appetite by giving you a sensation going uphill on the roll-coaster.
Ramen captured me not only because of the taste, but because of the modern production lines. As you can see from the video (second from the top of the next link), they are all automated. The new smart factory has a cutting-edge facility wired with various IoT tech, which detects only 1 defect product per millionth. This figure is much safer than blasting a space rocket. Nissin locates 700 cameras in the factory and monitors and administers the quality of production setting hygiene and safety at priority. All manmade human errors are reduced, since check, validation, and transportation lines are all automated.
Nissin was not the only companies struggling with low entry of labors. Due to shrinking population in Japan, overall industries have started to suffer from labor shortage and food industry has been hit hard. Thus, Nissin is allocating creative work for humans and manual labor to automation, so that they can complement the best performance from each. However, still this trend has just started, so we still don’t know how this will end up with.