Tag Archives | Foxconn

Million Robot Revolution Delayed

"Car assembly has long been automated, but some manufacturing still requires a human touch."

“Car assembly has long been automated, but some manufacturing still requires a human touch.”

Let’s hear it for the humans?

via The Singularity Hub:

Terry Gou is CEO of electronics manufacturer Foxconn. He’s also a big proponent of replacing humans with robots in factories. Gou said Foxconn would replace human workers with a million robots in three years. That was three years ago.

Since that first announcement, Gou has indeed pursued robotics, developing his own robotic arms (or Foxbots as they’re called) to replace humans in his automated factories of the future. But his million robot workforce has yet to materialize.

What has materialized?

Earlier this year, Foxconn said it was preparing to deploy 10,000 Foxbots costing $20,000 to $25,000 to make iPhones. It was said the robots could produce some 30,000 devices a year and Foxconn would add some 30,000 robots annually.

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Foxconn Factory In China Shut Down As Thousands Of Workers Riot

Rueters reports on major unrest at the source of the world's baubles:
About 2,000 Chinese employees of an iPhone assembly company fought a pitched battle into the early hours of Monday, forcing the huge electronics plant where they work to be shut down. Authorities in the northern city of Taiyuan sent 5,000 police to restore order. On Monday evening, paramilitary police with riot shields, helmets and batons guarded one entrance of the massive factory complex, while an announcement over loudspeakers said there had been a criminal incident the night before and urged people to respect the law. Employees and people posting messages online accused factory guards of provoking the trouble by beating up workers at the factory, which is owned by the world's largest contract maker of electronic goods.
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iPhone Maker Still In Hot Water Over Slavery-Like Factory ‘Internships’

The enslavement of teenagers has ramped back up with the rolling out of deadlines for the next generation iPhone. Via the Atlantic Wire:

The student complaints allege that officials had classes suspended and then bussed them over to Foxconn to work on the upcoming iPhone, interns told Shanghai Daily. Since then, they have worked 12-hour days, six days a week, say some students. “MengniuIQ84 wrote [on Weibo] that the authorities had ordered the schools to send students to assist Foxconn but said that the factory neither informed parents nor signed agreements with students,” according to the Shanghai Daily.

Foxconn isn’t denying any of that, but says nothing is forced since these students have free will to leave. But where would they go? School has been suspended in light of the ramped-up production for the new phone, which Apple will likely announce next week and ship not too longer after that.

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Inside Foxconn: How iPads Are Made

A short but nuanced glimpse at the conditions from which spring our beloved Apple products, with long hours of tedium and breaks on the soccer field. If this was your life, would you want to use an iPad after?
Marketplace Shanghai Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz is only the second reporter ever to gain access to visit the factory floor at Apple's Chinese producer Foxconn.
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‘Fair Trade’ iPhones?

iPhonesFair Trade labels, are an increasingly a common sight on food stuffs like coffee, bananas, sugar, tea and chocolate. While the labeling system is an imperfect mediator to global disparity and injustice, it does help traditional farmers moderate their standard of living. However, given the complex and multiple processes involved in the production of new technologies like phones, mp3 players, and laptops — is ‘fair trade’ technology even possible? Reports Ryan Huang on ZDNet Asia:

There may be a market for more ethically sourced and produced electronics driven by the increased public scrutiny and awareness over labor issues and related concerns over the sector, say industry observers. However, some express reservations over the feasibility of implementing a fair trade model in the industry.

The electronics manufacturing industry came under the spotlight following a series of suicides involving Foxconn workers in a Chinese factory, which manufactures devices for major brands such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Samsung.

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Foxconn Has The World’s Largest, And Worst, Internship Program

5678601035_6492c5f4cf_zWhat’s worse than slave labor? Slave internships. About a third of the workers in Foxconn’s iPhone factories are young adults participating in the world’s biggest, most hellish internship program. They are students who have been told that they will not receive their degrees without completing the experience — Foxconn pays kickbacks to their schools. Motherboard writes:

One of the lesser-known aspects of the manufacturing behemoth behind gadgets by Apple, Amazon and many others: a giant internship program rife with abuse. With the help of schools and government officials, the company runs a massive internship program built not on voluntary education but on “compelled” factory work for teenage students. According to Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation, Foxconn may be running “the world’s single largest internship program.”

Foxconn says it relies on as many as 180,000 interns during the summer months to fulfill the needs of the voracious beast of Western gadget demand — companies like Apple, Amazon, HP and nearly every other major electronics brand.

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iPhones Cost Less Than $30 To Make?

Eric Mack writes on cNet News:
Recent Foxconn revelations hint at higher costs than previous estimates that are still staggeringly low by Western standards. An unprecedented peek behind the curtain of Foxconn's factories in China may have revealed new hints to how much it actually costs to make each iPhone. ABC's "Nightline" was recently given access to the factory floor, and the resulting reporting has provided some new insights into exactly how iPhones are built, a part of the gadget's gestation process that's typically been a very closely guarded trade secret. Horace Dediu, blogger, analyst, and former business development manager for Nokia, tried to parse some of the clues and came to some interesting conclusions ...
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Mass Suicide Threat Results In Massive Lay-Offs For Foxconn Workers

Will Fan Boys finally rebuke their iPhones as more news of Foxconn’s inhumane treatment of workers surfaces in this ZNet article by Hana Stewart-Smith?

When 300 men and women climb onto a rooftop and threaten to commit suicide in protest over denied compensation, it is impossible not to wonder how a company could lead its employees into such desperation.


But Foxconn did.

A little over a week ago, 300 employees at Foxconn’s Technology Park in Wuhan, China threatened their own lives because they were denied a vital pay increase. Foxconn told them they could either keep their jobs without it, or they could quit and be compensated.

Many chose to quit, but the company terminated the agreement, and none of the former workers received the promised compensation.

Production at the company was temporarily halted. It was not until 9 pm the next day that the town’s mayor was able to talk the 300 down from the roof.

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