Apple supplier Foxconn to start massive automation effort for its factories

In a recently released report, DigiTimes has revealed that Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn - the company is one of the most prominent Apple suppliers - plans to automate its factories in May 2017, replacing a vast majority of human employees with robots.

According to the report, the massive automation effort which Foxconn has planned for its factories in May will involve the replacement of nearly 60,000 human workers.

Going by the details shared by Dai Jia-peng, General Manager of Foxconn Automation Technology Development Committee, the automation of Foxconn factories is a three-phase plan, under which the company's factories in China will automated with the help of software and in-house robotics units called Foxbots.

Jia-peng has further elaborated that, in the first phase of the automation of Foxconn factories, automated work stations will be set up to carry out tasks which are hazardous or tasks which human workers are reluctant to undertake.

In the second phase of automation, whole production lines will be automated by Foxconn so that the number of robots needed for the company's manufacturing processes is reduced; and, in the third phase, entire factories will undergo automation.

Once Foxconn fully switches over to automation, the company's factories will only have a minimal number of human workers who will be assigned to roles in testing, logistics, production, and inspection.