First-generation Foxbots – Foxconn’s robots to assemble Apple devices – fail to meet Apple’s high standards, reports the Chinese Jiemian (via G4Games). The robots have a precision error 0.03 mm greater than the tolerance required by the iPhone maker.
Apple’s biggest assembly partner, Foxconn, had an ambitious plan: to deploy a million robots to solve the problem of rising Chinese labour costs. However, the first set of robots set to work in the company’s Shenzhen Longua facility are showing signs of failure. As a result, full automation could be years away.
According to insiders speaking with the Chinese site, the team in charge of some of the automation processes does not have a good understanding of developing robots for 3C (Computers, Consumer Electronics, and Communications) industries. This resulted in the failure reported by Jiemian: Foxbot accuracy is 0.05 mm, which fails to meet Apple’s accuracy requirement of 0.02 mm.
As a result, the AR division is currently actively studying the matter and hopes to come up with a solution that will put the ambitious project back on track.
Another issue is the output volume Foxconn has to meet, as Apple’s demand for iPhone and iPad units is seemingly growing – at least for now – with the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
But let’s not forget that Foxconn is building a plant to manufacture displays exclusively for Apple, so the company is betting on growth.