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Old Mar 5, 2012, 01:55 PM   #1
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Foxconn Reportedly Increasing Quality Control with X-ray Imaging




CNET reports that Foxconn, Apple's primary manufacturing partner for iOS devices, has recently begun adding in-line x-ray imaging machines to its production lines, seeking to improve quality control while also seeking to increase automation.
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Foxconn Technology, which has about 1.2 million employees working at its myriad factories in China, has begun adding automated inline X-ray inspection systems to its plants, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the change. With inline X-ray machines using software algorithms to inspect solder joints or printed circuit boards at production line speeds, a company is able to spot defects that humans might miss before the pieces get tucked into packages for resale.
The report points to Foxconn's announcement last year that it intends to add one million robots to its production facilities in an effort to increase efficiency and address rising labor costs. Foxconn has come under fire for its treatment of workers at its facilities, and recent wage hikes combined with other expenses associated with meeting labor standards and Apple's continued growth may be tipping the economic balance for Foxconn toward more automation.




Today's report does not specifically state that the x-ray machines are being used on production lines dedicated to Apple products, but with Apple being the manufacturer's largest and highest-profile customer it seems likely that the iPhone and iPad are part of its automation plans.

Article Link: Foxconn Reportedly Increasing Quality Control with X-ray Imaging
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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I'm all for increases in quality control, just as long as the x-rays don't affect the employees. I hope they don't.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:02 PM   #3
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That peace sign pose is so predictable.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:03 PM   #4
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In unrelated news, every employee in Foxconn dies of cancer.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:03 PM   #5
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Every new iPad includes a nice dose of radiation now!
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:11 PM   #6
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The ipad 3. Side effects include: Cancer. If you see experience these effects, please consult your doctor immediately
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnysods View Post
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A405)

In unrelated news, every employee in Foxconn dies of cancer.
That's not it... For every returned iPad or iPhone, the QA specialist get his balls (or her husband's) x-rayed...

Cheaper than to build a machine to actually do this...

(Note: this is humor... I feel I have to point it out these days)
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:26 PM   #8
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I'm having a hard time believing that these machines will be properly maintained. (And no, this won't make your iPad radioactive. )
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:40 PM   #9
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I think everyone who talks about cancer from the x-rays is forgetting that china has no shortage of cheap lead... I'm sure they've shielded things properly.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:42 PM   #10
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This can only be reported by someone as news who has actually absolutely no idea and know-how on manufacturing.

You could report as well the solder is used on PCBA during SMT.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 02:43 PM   #11
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This means no more yellow tint? What about no more fines for taking breaks?
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 03:01 PM   #12
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This sounds like a good thing, unless is dangerous to anyone's health, and unless it makes people redundant.

But there's a big ethical question that I can't figure out:

If robots eventually end up being able to do everything a person can do on the assembly line, what would be better: if Foxconn (or any factory) replaced all their workers - other than the top-level engineers - by machines, thereby eliminating harsh working conditions but also making lots of people unemployed, or if they continued to employ people to do jobs that a machine could do, just to keep people employed?
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 03:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GenesisST View Post
(Note: this is humor... I feel I have to point it out these days)
You probably need to point it out because it wasn't humorous.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 03:14 PM   #14
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You probably need to point it out because it wasn't humorous.
Touché!

But seriously, in the last few weeks, I've gotten comments from people that didn't get it was a joke or sarcasm. Whether it is funny or not, that's another discussion!
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 03:50 PM   #15
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FoxConn....giving child workers cancer by the dozens each day.™
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 03:50 PM   #16
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Smile, you'll be sterile in a few months time!
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 04:13 PM   #17
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Question I expect better from MR...

Am I the only one here who is disappointed that this girl's image is used over and over for commercial gain? Although I can see people firing back now with, "I'm sure she'd love it" or "you should be glad MR helped make her famous." I can't help but think it's not fair to her. She's not being compensated by for-profit sites generating ad revenue while repeatedly exploiting her as the face of Foxconn.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 04:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Michaelgtrusa View Post
This means no more yellow tint?
X-Rays in electronics manufacturing is usually used for spotting voids in soldered joints.

Similar to bone fracture x-rays, small voids and cracks show up in black. Continuous metal shows up as white, that way it's easy to see any flaws in solder joints.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 04:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baryon View Post
This sounds like a good thing, unless is dangerous to anyone's health, and unless it makes people redundant.

But there's a big ethical question that I can't figure out:

If robots eventually end up being able to do everything a person can do on the assembly line, what would be better: if Foxconn (or any factory) replaced all their workers - other than the top-level engineers - by machines, thereby eliminating harsh working conditions but also making lots of people unemployed, or if they continued to employ people to do jobs that a machine could do, just to keep people employed?
Probably cheaper to use Hubots than Robots!
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 04:40 PM   #20
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So if they replace half the workforce with robots and the unemployment rate rises will China blame the rate rise on people being lazy and not looking for jobs.

I notice here in the US companies have become very lean and efficient with minimal work force using cross training and requiring more from current staff as opposed to hiring.
Then call the unemployed just lazy. When peoples jobs are on the line they will quickly learn to take on more responsibilities therefore soaking up the jobs that people have been laid off from.

Sorry this may be off subject.
I am in the market for robots.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 05:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NAG View Post
I'm having a hard time believing that these machines will be properly maintained. (And no, this won't make your iPad radioactive. )
I'm having a hard time believing that a company would buy expensive x-ray machines and destroy their usefulness by avoiding proper maintenance.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 05:33 PM   #22
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As long as this has no effect on the employees, I'm excited for the QC addition, my iPhone and iPad has had to be replaced due to manufacturing defects
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 05:36 PM   #23
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I'm having a hard time believing that these machines will be properly maintained. (And no, this won't make your iPad radioactive. )
Why, it's one of the real high tech factories that runs uber efficiently?
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 08:18 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
I'm having a hard time believing that a company would buy expensive x-ray machines and destroy their usefulness by avoiding proper maintenance.
coughTSAcough
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 08:21 PM   #25
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I'm surprised they're just adding this now... I thought x-ray was standard practice for PCBs. Maybe the difference is the "inline" part-- this is going to run on every unit where it was only spot checked before?
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