Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant behind iPhone and many other electronic devices, is planning to be as much as automated as possible in upcoming years.
A report from DigiTimes suggests that company has a three-phase plan to automate the manufacturing process using software and self-made robotic units called Foxbots.
In the first phase, Foxconn aims to set up individual automated work stations for work that workers are unwilling to do or is dangerous.
– Dia Jia-Peng
According to the general manager of the automation company, the first phase will involve replacement of human workers with robots where the workers are unwilling, or the working environments are dangerous.
In the second phase, the company will focus on improving its efficiency by streamlining production lines in the factory to reduce any number of robots that are excess.
In the third and final phase, the company will automate the entire manufacturing facilities, and only a small number of workers will be assigned to production, testing and inspection process.
The company is hoping to automate 30% of all factory work by 2020, and as of now, it can produce almost 10000 Foxbots in a year. The idea is not new for Foxconn, and the company has already automated almost 60000 jobs at one of the manufacturing plants.
Unlike the US, finding cheap labor is not tough in China, and this is why most companies in the country do not use robots to automate factory lines. Foxconn itself is the employer of more than 1.2 million people which makes it one of the largest employers in the world, and in those employees, more than 1 million are working in China.
The company is large enough that one of the plants can produce 5,00,000 iPhones in a day and is widely known as iPhone City.
As financially beneficial as it is for the company, it will ultimately put thousands if not millions of workers in the state of unemployment.