Apple’s main iPhone assembler, Foxconn, has announced today that it has begun delaying 40,000 robots on its production lines, working to fully-automate its factories.
Foxconn has already replaced more than half of its workforce with robots since the launch of the iPhone 6. This is part of a three-phase plan according to the company’s Automation Technology Development Committee general manager Dai Jia-peng.
Digitimes reports that the first phase is to replace individual worker positions with automated work stations, starting with the most dangerous and difficult jobs. Phase two is to automate entire production lines, which would mix both humans and robots in the production lines.
There are 10 lights-out (fully automated) production lines at some factories, including table one in Chengdu, AIO (all-in-one) PC and LCD monitor lines at a factory in Chongqing, western China, and a CNC line in Zhengzhou, Dai indicated.
And of course, phase three would be to fully automate the factories and not just the production lines. Allowing them to run automatically.
In the third phase, entire factories will be automated with only a minimal number of workers assigned for production, logistics, testing and inspection processes, Dai indicated.
Automating and streamlining the production line means that we’ll likely see more efficient production. However, it does mean that thousands of people will be losing their jobs.