Foxconn, maker of iPhones and iPads, plans to add 1 million robots, doubling the world's industrial robot population. More Asian manufacturers will follow.
Foxconn, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer famous for making Apple iPads and iPhones, has the manufacturing world abuzz with its plans to deploy 1 million robots in its factories over the next three years.
It’s a big step for robotics, because the move would more than double the world population of industrial robots. Equally important, it’s happening in electronics, not in the automotive industry, which has been the stronghold for robots, and in China. Foxconn, a company that made its mark by using cheap labor from mainland China, is leading the charge of what I believe will be a huge move toward automation in Asia.
Foxconn may have its own reasons for making the first move. A rash of suicides among its workers in China last year brought intense international scrutiny. The adverse publicity, along with a push from Apple’s supplier social responsibility group, caused the company to raise wages and improve its workers’ living conditions.