Apple supplier Foxconn has installed a massive 40,000 robots for handling manufacturing jobs at a number of its factories in China, claims a new report.
The industrial robots — named “Foxbots” — are currently being rolled out at factories in Zhengzhou, Kunshan, Jiashanm and a “tablet plant” in Chengdu, where Apple is known to produce iPads. Foxconn’s future robot production is expected to hit around 10,000 units per year.
Foxbots are being mainly manufactured in-house, with the exception of a few key components, such as speed reducers and servo motors. This in-house manufacturing also includes the software driving the bots.
Foxconn has been talking about replacing its human workers with robots since 2010, and began testing this technology iPhone-building bots back in December 2012. Last we heard, however, was in 2014 when Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou was reportedly disappointed by the company’s crop of robots, which supposedly fell short of expectations in both proficiency and flexibility.
Each Foxbot costs between $20,000 and $25,000 to build, and can manufacture up to 30,000 devices.
However, while numbers like these are certainly impressive, it’ll still be a while before Foxconn — which employs around 1.3 million people — is able to completely replace its human manufacturing workforce.