Entries with tag industrial robots.

Foxconn Moves to Robotic Assembly

Foxconn Technology Group, one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers, plans to begin using robots to help assemble devices in its Chinese factories. Apple, which uses the company for making its iPhones and iPads, will be the first company to use the new robotic service. The company says it will initially use 10,000 robots, which cost about $25,000 each and which are being tested now. Foxconn says it wants to use robots in part to offset rising labor costs. (SlashDot)(Business Insider)

Toyota Replacing Robots with Human Workers

Although robots are widely used for industrial production, Toyota is replacing machines with human craftsmen able to teach new skills to their younger colleagues as well as improve the car-building process. The move is designed to help workers understand the processes involved in making car parts from scratch and also allows them to take that knowledge and use it to reprogram machines. Ultimately, this can help improve various processes. This approach is succeeding in the Honsha plant where crankshafts are now made by hand. The company reports this has reduced the amount of scrap by 10 percent, shortened the production line by 96 percent, improved production, and also reduced the costs associated with making chassis parts. Toyota still uses robots throughout its manufacturing operations. It uses 760 robots, for example, in 96 percent of the production at its Motomachi facility. (SlashDot)(Bloomberg)

Robots Are Taking Over Chinese Jobs

A new entrant into the Chinese labor pool is sending ripples into the nation’s economy and labor pool. Companies are increasingly using robots for simple jobs such as peeling noodles from dough lumps and placing them into boiling water in many of China’s noodle shops. A cook doing that job earns about 40,000 yuan per year (about $6,400 per year). The noodle-making robot costs 10,000 yuan (about $1,600) and its price is continuing to drop. Inventor Cui Runquan said he has sold the robots to about 3,000 restaurants since 2010. China is on pace to become the world’s largest market for robotics. Recently, the China Machinery Industry Federation launched the Robot Industry Alliance, a nonprofit group focused on robotics research and development. In addition to noodle-making, newer industrial robots are expected to tackle tasks such as welding, painting, ironing, and packaging. Experts say robots will threaten Chinese jobs based on how quickly they are adopted compared to how fast the domestic labor force shrinks. China’s labor force declined in 2012 and could continue to do so as its population ages. (SlashDot)(Singularity Hub)(ZDNet)(MIT Technology Review)(Xinhua News Agency)
 

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