Foxconn CEO Terry Gou announced that the company might use robots internally referred to as Foxbots are being tested for deployment in its factories and that assembling Apple devices may be their initial task, hinting that iPhone 6 is underway.
The company is planning to deploy at least 10,000 robots initially which are estimated to produce at least 300,000 devices each per year. The company has shelled out $20,000 to $25,000 for each robot and has plans to replace more of its employees in the coming years.
Foxconn has been planning to deploy robots in its factories as early as 2011. The company planned to deploy 300,000 robots in 2012 and raise the number to one million in 2014. However, its plan has been delayed until now for different reasons.
Currently, the company employs about 1.2 million people at its factories across China. It believes that employing robots will help it steer clear of the workers’ rights issues it is facing now besides fixing other issues such as wage problems, housing and production line stoppages due to other reasons. Though there are some robots already being used in Foxconn’s factories, the company has never shared the exact number yet.
However, even after deploying robots, the company will still have to rely on manual labour for quite some time in future until its production line stabilizes entirely with robots. It was reported last month that the company was planning to hire a massive 100,000 employees to rev up production of iPhone 6 and that production would start in July. Earlier reports said that the production of iPhone 6’s batteries will be on completely automated lines so that manpower requirements can be brought down.
Apple’s next generation smartphone is expected to hit the market shelves probably on September 19, in 2 different variants – a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch “phablet”, featuring a slim profile with an illuminating logo, a faster A8 processor, an improved camera. The 5.5-inch version is said come with optical image stabilization and 128GB internal storage.