Foxconn Set to Deploy Robots to Help Assemble the iPhone

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    At a recent shareholder meeting, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou announced that the company will soon deploy robots to help assemble devices, noting that Apple will be the first company to use the service, reports IT Home (Google Translate, via GSMDome).


    Named "Foxbots", each robot will be able to assemble an average of 30,000 devices and costs anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 to make. Gou stated that the assembly devices are undergoing their final testing phase, as Foxconn plans to deploy 10,000 robots to its factories.

    Foxconn has been Apple's longtime primary partner in assembling its iPhones, iPads, and iPods. In 2011, it was reported that Foxconn would be replacing a portion of its workers with 1 million robots, although it was not clear at the time how many jobs would be replaced by the robots.

    As a part of its 2013 10-K annual report last year, Apple also revealed that it was investing a record $10.5 billion on advanced supply chain technology, with some of that investment going towards advanced machinery including assembly robots. A report earlier this year noted that Apple would be moving production of iPhone batteries to automated lines, allowing suppliers to reduce manpower demand and shift resources towards production efforts on other parts.

    Foxconn has recently ramped up its production efforts ahead of the launch of Apple's iPhone 6 this fall, with the company bringing on 100,000 new workers to help assemble the iPhone 6. Production of the new device is reportedly set to ramp up next month ahead of a launch around September. The iPhone 6 is expected to come in two sizes of 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, and feature a thinner profile, an improved camera, a faster A8 processor, and more.

    Article Link: Foxconn Set to Deploy Robots to Help Assemble the iPhone
  2. Z400Racer37 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2011
    Doubling down on security? Goodbye finished part leaks? Let's hope so... Cool stuff.
  3. MNealBarrett macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2006
    I wonder what will happen to the employment situation in China when Chinese factories start using robots instead of workers.
  4. bwillwall macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2009
    Good.. they need to do something.. the conditions aren't great and honestly the production rates and number of failures is still pretty bad.
  5. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    This is just the eventuality of industry.

    They just pay them welfare. It works here.
  6. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

    Dec 15, 2013
    New York
    Haha so true. I think robots are good. They can make stuff faster so less wait time at launch
  7. zoetmb macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2007
    I don't know which is worse: continuing to pay relatively cruddy wages to workers for boring factory jobs or getting rid of the workers and replacing them with robots.

    I don't understand why each robot can only assemble 30,000 iPhones. What happens after that - do the robots fall apart or are they unionized and they get to retire?

    I also wonder who is designing and who owns these robots - Foxconn or Apple? If it's not Foxconn and the iPhone and/or other Apple products can be completely assembled by robots, then why not have factories around the world (including the U.S.), not just in China?
  8. Superken7 macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2011
    10,000 robots? And who is assembling those robots?

    It would be interesting if those robots could also assemble themselves, and not just iPhones. Although even if they don't, they probably can't, that means less humans working there, for sure. Higher yield, less cost is their goal.
  9. Eduardo1971 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2006
    Lost Angeles, Ca. usa
    Somewhere in China a child must be weeping at this announcement.
  10. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2009
  11. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    Really behind times not to have fully automated systems. No employee problems and better consistent quality are the benefits. They will work 24/7 and only require stocking which could be automated also.
  12. PowerBook-G5 macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2013
    The United States of America
    Somebody else posted this a while ago, but here we go:

    Attached Files:

  13. macs4nw macrumors 68040


    Yup, robots are less inclined to tattle, or take pictures of their
  14. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2014
    Hope this is the first step to Apple brining back U.S. Based production. Would save a bit in shipping, export control costs, and have a better ecology of high tech companies to support the robots.
  15. jayducharme macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    They also won't unionize or demand better working conditions.
  16. kwikdeth macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tempe, AZ
    it seems like there's some data missing here...

    30,000 devices... in ... what? hours? days? weeks? months? does it drop dead after the 30,000th device, like some kind of strange death mechanism, before it realizes its leading a hollow, meaningless existence and offs itself by by plugging itself into a counterfeit chinese wall charger and exploding? Or is it like a Replicant out of Blade Runner, implanted with the memories of a dead assembly line worker in order for it to not question its purpose in life, and after 30,000 devices assembled, it has to be programmed to self-destruct before it realizes its place and rises up against its human oppressors?

    do tell more...
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    All the posters who complain all the time that Apple shouldn't use "slave labour" in China will surely be rejoicing. Or maybe it will be a wakeup call for them that these are jobs that people actually want.
  18. markosb macrumors 6502


    Mar 19, 2010
    Are they made of Aluminum?
  19. PowerBook-G5 macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2013
    The United States of America
    Nice one
  20. MacSince1990 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2009
    This may be the most asinine comment I've ever read on MacRumors.
  21. Cythth macrumors regular


    Feb 24, 2013
    Lake Jackson, TX
    Good. Remove human error by removing the human.
  22. NY Guitarist macrumors 65816

    NY Guitarist

    Mar 21, 2011
    Soon... robots building robots, until they become self-aware and decide humans are no longer necessary.

    -> Obligatory reference to 'SkyNet' getting closer to reality.
  23. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

    Feb 9, 2014
    I guess you never really thought much of Samuel Clemens writing style.
  24. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Replacing some of the cheapest human labor in the world with robots... why do this? While it could be some kind of quality thing where the needed robots will do the job better than humans, I suspect it's a cost thing- the robots will reduce the cost of labor. Conceptually, that would mean that either a) the price of what the robots make could come down and Apple could still get its margin or b) the price of what the robots make could stay the same or go up and increase Apple's margin. I wonder which one Apple will choose.
  25. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

    Feb 9, 2014
    I guess you never really thought much of Samuel Clemens' writing style.

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