Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Foxconn to replace human with robots

Have we reached the stage where robotic assistance is preferred over human manpower ?? Perhaps its quite early to comment but one thing has been definitely proved by the Taiwanese company, Foxconn that "ROBOTS" are fully geared up to replace humans at least in the manufacturing units as they are cheap, accurate and faster than human.

Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, known for assembling Apple's iPhones and iPads in China, plans to use more robots, with one report saying the company would use one million of them in the next three years, to cope with rising labor costs.

Foxconn's move highlights an increasing trend toward automation among Chinese companies as labour issues such as high-profile strikes and workers' suicides plague firms in sectors from autos to technology.

Contract manufacturers such as Foxconn, which also counts Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia among its clients, are moving parts of their manufacturing to inland Chinese cities or other emerging markets. They are also boosting research and development investments to lift their thin margins.

"Workers' wages are increasing so quickly that some companies can't take it longer," said Dan Bin, a fund manager at Shenzhen-based Eastern Bay Investment Management, which invests in technology and consumer-related shares in China and Hong Kong.

"Automation is a general trend in many sectors in China, such as electronics. Of course some companies will consider moving their manufacturing overseas, but it's easier said than done when the supply chain is here."

The China Business News on Monday quoted Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou as saying the company planned to use 1 million robots within three years, up from about 10,000 robots in use now and an expected 300,000 next year.

Foxconn, whose listed units include Hon Hai Precision and Foxconn International Holdings Ltd, issued a statement later saying Gou told staff at its campus in Longhua, China, that he planned to move its more than 1 million employees up the value chain beyond basic manufacturing work.

Foxconn, which has been plagued by a spate of workers' suicides in its Chinese factories since last year, plans to use the robots for simple assembly line procedures, the statement quoted its chairman Gou as saying.


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