Foxconn Reportedly Increasing Quality Control with X-ray Imaging

CNET reports that Foxconn, Apple's primary manufacturing partner for iOS devices, has recently begun adding in-line x-ray imaging machines to its production lines, seeking to improve quality control while also seeking to increase automation.
Foxconn Technology, which has about 1.2 million employees working at its myriad factories in China, has begun adding automated inline X-ray inspection systems to its plants, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the change. With inline X-ray machines using software algorithms to inspect solder joints or printed circuit boards at production line speeds, a company is able to spot defects that humans might miss before the pieces get tucked into packages for resale.
The report points to Foxconn's announcement last year that it intends to add one million robots to its production facilities in an effort to increase efficiency and address rising labor costs. Foxconn has come under fire for its treatment of workers at its facilities, and recent wage hikes combined with other expenses associated with meeting labor standards and Apple's continued growth may be tipping the economic balance for Foxconn toward more automation.


Today's report does not specifically state that the x-ray machines are being used on production lines dedicated to Apple products, but with Apple being the manufacturer's largest and highest-profile customer it seems likely that the iPhone and iPad are part of its automation plans.

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101 months ago

(Note: this is humor... I feel I have to point it out these days)


You probably need to point it out because it wasn't humorous. ;)
Rating: 5 Votes
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101 months ago
I think everyone who talks about cancer from the x-rays is forgetting that china has no shortage of cheap lead... I'm sure they've shielded things properly.
Rating: 4 Votes
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101 months ago
I'm all for increases in quality control, just as long as the x-rays don't affect the employees. I hope they don't.
Rating: 2 Votes
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101 months ago

You probably need to point it out because it wasn't humorous. ;)


Touché!

But seriously, in the last few weeks, I've gotten comments from people that didn't get it was a joke or sarcasm. Whether it is funny or not, that's another discussion!


Yeah people are generally pretty uptight.

If you can't laugh at yourself then you need to relax. :)
Rating: 1 Votes
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101 months ago
If it's all going to be automated anyway, couldn't Foxconn build factories in the USA, Mexico or Canada?
Rating: 1 Votes
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101 months ago
Foxconn employes have a choice of poisons to pick, toxics, repeated strain injuries, slave working hours and now, introducing, cancer. Who said apple isn't about choice? And all that just for younger and older brats to play around with their itoys...
Rating: 1 Votes
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101 months ago

I think the reason machines will be added is to up the production rate. Foxconn can do two things (and they probably do both):
- Employ more workers and expand the factory floor
- Make every worker more efficient by giving them the equipment they need to improve their output rate.
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You forgot the part where it says Foxconn is going to use robots to "address the rising cost of labor". Doesn't sound like they are going to do much expanding of the workforce.

So they give their workers a raise, then turn around and install robots because of high labor costs.

I wonder if any robots will attempt suicide.
Rating: 1 Votes
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101 months ago

coughTSAcough


TSA is not a company. It is a government agency, whose importance is measured by the money they are spending, and the illusion of security they produce. You don't need a well-working x-ray machine for the illusion of security. And replacing a badly maintained machine after a year instead of using a well-maintained machine for five years produces more spending which increases the perceived importance of the agency, and creates more illusion of security.
Rating: 1 Votes
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101 months ago
So much negativity
Rating: 1 Votes
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101 months ago

This sounds like a good thing, unless is dangerous to anyone's health, and unless it makes people redundant.

But there's a big ethical question that I can't figure out:

If robots eventually end up being able to do everything a person can do on the assembly line, what would be better: if Foxconn (or any factory) replaced all their workers - other than the top-level engineers - by machines, thereby eliminating harsh working conditions but also making lots of people unemployed, or if they continued to employ people to do jobs that a machine could do, just to keep people employed?


Probably cheaper to use Hubots than Robots!
Rating: 1 Votes
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