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Foxconn could begin robotic production in time for iPhone 6

updated 10:33 am EDT, Mon July 7, 2014

Apple-based assembly lines getting first crack at automation

Foxconn is in the final stages of testing new assembly robots, and could deploy them at one or more major factories in the near future, reports say. During the initial deployment phase, Foxconn is expected to use 10,000 robots to replace human workers, with Apple product lines being the top priority. While there's no exact date for when the robots will be installed, they could be ready in time to help with iPhone 6 production.

Although each robot will cost $20,000 to $25,000, the tradeoff should be worth it for Foxconn on a corporate level. A single robot will be capable of manufacturing an average of 30,000 devices per year, meaning that the initial deployment could theoretically churn out as many 300 million products annually. That productivity will come at the expense of workers, since Foxconn currently employs over 1.2 million people, a number of whom may lose their jobs even if the company will still need human help for the foreseeable future.

Eliminating people from the equation will let Foxconn save on costs incurred through factors like housing, overtime pay, and strikes or other labor rights actions. The firm already has some robots in operation, but the new push has been delayed since 2011.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Has it occurred to the executives at Apple and Foxconn that, deprived of jobs, the Chinese won't be able to buy Apple products? Even an old curmudgeon like Henry Ford understood that to be able to afford his Fords people needed good paying jobs. Alas, I think not. Corporate executives are a lot like Beltway politicians. They live inside a gilded bubble.

  1. darkelf

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-21-03

    it's all good until a 4000-lb assembly line robot jumps to its death from the roof.

  1. seattledandy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-07-14

    Actually these Cyberdyne systems series 800 assembly robots have been specifically programmed not to jump from the roof. Though they do occasionally throw their human coworkers off. O_o

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    Thanks goodness no more stone being slipped inside the iPhone box. Unless they can transform themselves into an iPhone and escape the factory that way?!

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