Inside a warehouse on the outskirts of Berlin, a long line of blue crates moved down a conveyor belt, carrying light switches, sockets and other electrical parts. As they came to a stop, five workers picked through the small items, placing each one in a cardboard box.
At Obeta, an electrical parts company that opened in 1901, it is the kind of monotonous task workers have performed for years.
But several months ago, a new worker joined the team. Stationed behind protective glass, a robot using three suction cups at the end of its long arm does the same job, sifting through parts with surprising speed and accuracy.