Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Foxconn Begins Installing First 10,000 Robots (AAPL)

These are simple robotic arms* not the anthropomorphized bots we mentioned in August's "Here's the Robot that Foxconn Will Use to Build Their Million-strong "Robot Kingdom" (ABB; AAPL)".
As speculated, Foxconn is building their own robots.
From Singularity Hub:

1 Million Robots To Replace 1 Million Human Jobs At Foxconn? First Robots Have Arrived.

Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that builds numerous mobile devices and gaming consoles, has been in the media lately because of labor issues, complaints over working conditions, rumored riots, and even suicides, all occurring in the past few years as demand for smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing.

It appears as if Gou has started the ball in motion. Since the announcement, a first batch of 10,000 robots — aptly named Foxbots — appear to have made its way into at least one factory, and by the end of 2012, another 20,000 more will be installed.

Though little is really known about these new bots, the rate of robot installation thus far is much lower than Gou’s original claim; however, the evidence suggests that it is difficult to know exactly what is going on in the factories and what is coming down the pipe. On top of that, these robots are manufactured in house, meaning that little information about them needs to be shared with the outside world in marketing reports, for example.

The FoxBots that have been installed apparently are designed for simple, yet precise repetitive actions common for simple manufacturing robots (lifting, selecting, placement). When it comes to automated factories, robots that can perform these tasks aren’t really anything new. But one look at the photo of the robot and it’s clear this isn’t just a simple machine, but a similar type of robotic arm to those used in assembly lines of automotive manufacturers.

That means more sophistication might be possible with these bots alone or in tandem....MORE
Apple/Tech mavens BoyGeniusReport are not as impressed:
Foxconn rolls out 10,000 ‘Foxbots’ as it moves ahead to replace 1 million workers
Foxconn announced in August last year that it was planning to have 1 million robots up and running in its factories within three years. As promised, the first batch of 10,000 “Foxbots” have already made an appearance in one Chinese factory, with 20,000 more planned by the end of the year.

The Foxconn-built Foxbots are estimated to cost between $20,000 and $25,000, but reportedly aren’t good for anything beyond repetitive tasks that involve item “lifting, selecting and placement.” The mechanical arm-like Foxbots are likely not capable of producing products such as the iPhone 5 that require extremely intricate assembly.

With 1.2 million employees, and 1 million robots planned, the big question is how many workers will actually be put out of work? After all, Foxconn will still need people to oil up the Foxbots if they ever malfunction.
We have quite a few more Hon Hai/Foxconn posts, use the search blog box if interested.

*Compare to the ABB FRIDA from our August post:
7-axis, dual arm, 720 degree 'wrist' spin, portable, and on and on:

abb industrial robot frida 

abb industrial robot frida
That's it. No more work for me.
Images and video: ABB