Foxconn Planning to Move Towards 100% Robotic Manufacturing for Smartphones

Foxconn Planning to Move Towards 100% Robotic Manufacturing for Smartphones

Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer Foxconn is planning to reduce its workforce and employ robots for manufacturing of smartphones and electronic devices. The company is major supplier for Apple’s iPhones and many other popular electronic devices. Foxconn has been blamed in the past for providing poor working conditions to its workers in China. The current report about Foxconn’s plan to go for 100% robotic manufacturing has been published by DigiTimes.

Foxconn will phase out its employees in three steps, as planned by the management. The factories in China will be automated by using in-house robotic units termed as Foxbots. Currently, Foxconn employs nearly 40,000 Foxbots. The initial cost of employing robots is high but it saves costs in long term.

During the first phase, employees will be replaced by robots for functions that are repetitive and the company finds workforce for those jobs with difficulty. The second phase will involve streamlining of operations and improving efficiency of robots.

Dai Jia-peng, the general manager of Foxconn’s automation committee said, "The third and final phase involves automating entire factories with only a minimal number of workers assigned for production, logistics, testing, and inspection processes."

In March 2016, Foxconn informed that the company reduced its workforce by 60,000 by employing robots. The Taiwanese electronics major aims to achieve 30 percent automation by year 2020. The company currently runs 10 production lines on automated schedules. These lines are producing other electronics and iPhone manufacturing still involves human labor.

Foxconn has capabilities of producing 10,000 Foxbots each year. The company will gradually move towards 100% robotic manufacturing. This will also ensure that the company escapes any issues with employees or working conditions issues in future.

A report published by The Verge informed, “In areas like Chengdu, Shenzhen, and Zhengzhou, local governments have doled out billions of dollars in bonuses, energy contracts, and public infrastructure to Foxconn to allow the company to expand. As of last year, Foxconn employed as many as 1.2 million people, making it one of the largest employers in the world. More than 1 million of those workers reside in China, often at elaborate, city-like campuses that house and feed employees.”

A report published by News Tonight Africa informed that Foxconn has been in trouble in the past for high rate of employee suicide. The report added that questionable working conditions at some of Foxconn facilities have raised inquiries against the company in the past.

Apple has also asked Foxconn to evaluate the options to shift some of its manufacturing in the United States.


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