Foxconn is preparing to enhance its assembly process with a new line of robots, according to the iPhone manufacturer’s president and CEO Terry Gou. Dubbed “Foxbots”, the new robots are in the final stages of testing and could be deployed in at least one major Foxconn factory in the near future, with lines dedicated to the production of Apple devices getting first priority (possibly in time for the iPhone 6), reports IT Home.
It’s potentially bad news for human workers as Foxconn is said to be planning an installation of 10,000 robots for its initial rollout and it is thought that many workers will be replaced with the new Foxbots going forwards. Each Foxbot is said to be capable of completing an average of 30,000 devices per year, meaning a rollout of 10,000 ‘bots would yield up to 300 million iPhones if devoted completely to that production line.
Each of the planned 10,000 robots will cost the company between $20,000 and $25,000. Over time, this could represent substantial saving for Foxconn who currently employs over 1.2 million people at its sites across China. A fully automated production line could save on wages, living costs and production line stoppages.
Until then, however, Foxconn will very much have to rely on human hands for its production needs and reportedly went on a hiring spree to ensure iPhone 6 production can keep up with demand this fall. It is unclear if the deployment of Foxbots will impact directly on those jobs.
We expect Apple to unveil a radically thinner iPhone 6 this fall in two screen sizes with improved camera tech, higher storage options and faster processor. Would you be happy to see your next iPhone built by a robot? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or get in touch on Twitter: @TiP_AdamO.