updated 10:22 am EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
May minimize job losses
Foxconn's upcoming robot deployment on Apple-based production lines will only be in a supportive role, leaving human jobs mostly intact, claims Taiwan's United Daily News. Sources say that the robots will help in tasks like locking down screws and polishing parts, leaving the most essential tasks -- namely assembly and quality control -- to people. The sources add that the robots will first be used at Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory, where flagship iPhones are built.
Although the robots could still potentially put some Foxconn workers out of a job, they may also alleviate an ever-increasing production burden. Last November the Zhengzhou facility hit its capacity trying to make up for low iPhone 5s supplies. Operating round-the-clock, it produced approximately 500,000 phones per day, with 600 workers on each assembly line. For the iPhone 5, Foxconn is believed to have required only 500 people per line.
Demands have likely only intensified this year, since Apple is working on not one but two new iPhones in bigger sizes, measuring 4.7 and 5.5 inches. The latter may even have features the 4.7-inch model doesn't such as optical image stabilization and/or better storage options.