Foxconn to deploy ‘Foxbot’ robots for iPhone assembly

“At a recent shareholder meeting, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou announced that the company will soon deploy robots to help assemble devices, noting that Apple will be the first company to use the service, reports IT Home,” Richard Padilla reports for MacRumors.

“Named ‘Foxbots,’ each robot will be able to assemble an average of 30,000 devices and costs anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 to make,” Padilla reports. “Gou stated that the assembly devices are undergoing their final testing phase, as Foxconn plans to deploy 10,000 robots to its factories.”

“Foxconn has recently ramped up its production efforts ahead of the launch of Apple’s iPhone 6 this fall, with the company bringing on 100,000 new workers to help assemble the iPhone 6,” Padilla reports. “Production of the new device is reportedly set to ramp up next month ahead of a launch around September.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Finally!

(Even though we’d prefer Fembots.)

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Why Foxconn’s iPhone robots could create American jobs – February 2, 2014
Apple dives deeper into designing and inventing robots, other manufacturing tech – November 22, 2013
Whatever happened to Foxconn’s one million iPhone-assembling robots? – May 15, 2013
Robots made Apple switch to ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ Macs – December 11, 2012
Foxconn’s 2012 plan: More robots, no layoffs, zero suicides, new factories – November 22, 2011
Foxconn to replace some workers with 1 million robots within 3 years – July 31, 2011


  1. Before anybody is dumb enough to assume that 10,000 robots capable of handling 30,000 iPhones each ( per year ) means that 10,000 x 30,000 iPhones will be made, it might be worth pointing out that each robot will perform some aspect of the assembly process and then pass it on to other robots or humans. It won’t be 10,000 robots working in parallel, each one assembling an entire iPhone, but a complex mixture of robots and people, each doing what they do best.

    The resultant throughput will be impressively large, but not 300,000,000 per year ( just yet ).

      1. Hmm, just noticed MDN removed the “like” buttons. I hate that. CNN and others also essentially removed the “thumbs down” vote, also lame. Yeah because disapproval and dissension are just not PC and touchy-feely enough.

  2. Robots are very good at repetitive tasks and that is why they are most often used for production lines. However they are limited in how many tasks each one can do and will likely be employed for routine ones first. Also any change in phone specs will mean the robots will need to be reprogramed. Also a team of engineers will be needed to support them.
    Definitely good news for Foxconn. Those robots will be good for years and once the initial investment is paid off they will cut cost down significantly. I feel sorry for the workers that will be displaced. It’s hard work in those factories but provided much needed income.

  3. Well said Alan,

    This is what Steve Jobs meant when he said the assembly jobs for many of Apple’s products will NOT be coming back to the US.

    Anyone who has spent time in the transformation of manufacturing knows that the much of these tedious and repetitive tasks are being replaced with dedicated, right sized machines. Not super robots like everyone believes, but small, inexpensive, simple, error-free devices that can be reconfigured quickly as the product or process changes.

    To do this requires a strong emphasis on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Without this talent, it will be exceedingly impossible to compete.

    Jobs knew this and when everyone was clamoring about bring the assembly line jobs back to the US, he knew it was much more than moving assembly tables and fixtures. Jobs knew we did not have sufficient engineering talent to create and maintain this type of world class automated lines.

    Getting into a political discussion on WHO IS TO BLAME for this accomplishes nothing! We need to face the brutal reality of what is happening in our educational process and work TOGETHER, as Americans to change it.

    Anyone who has worked in change management, knows that it will be a long and difficult journey which must transcend the American political process.

    1. It’s not a question of assembly jobs coming just to the US, we could see assembly work happening in multiple factories around the world.

      At the moment, it will still need a significant number of workers to assemble iPhones, but Jony Ives is always interested in ways to streamline the manufacturing process. There will come a time in the not too distant future where iPhone assembly is mostly a robotic procedure and at that point, the location of factories can be governed by issues other than availability of a cheap workforce.

  4. One thing robots do a poor job of is being a consumer. Actually. robots are the worst at being consumers. Well, actually, robots are not consumers at all and never will be. There in lies the problem.

    Over time the designs for consumer electronics will be chained to more easily be assembled by machines. In the end there will few workers. It’s like adding 2 + 2 and coming up with 6, every time. They just don’t get it, and that’s the other point, same as the first.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.