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Robots step in as cheap labor dries up in Eastern Europe

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Istvan Simon’s factory in western Hungary churns out more than a million plastic parts a day but on a busy morning in one of its large production halls there is only the sound of machines clicking and whirring. Workers have all but disappeared. Similar transformations are underway on production lines across the European Union’s eastern wing as surging wage bills undermine the region’s reputation as a cheap production base. Factory owners from Hungary to the Czech Republic and Poland find themselves with little choice but to invest in the automation of their manufacturing processes if they want to remain competitive.

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