Foxconn Technology Group has cut 60,000 manufacturing jobs at one of its factories in Kunshan, China and replaced these positions with a robot workforce.
Analysts are already making predictions that companies will move towards a robot workforce to automate certain manufacturing jobs.
In a statement to the BBC, Foxconn stated that the move does not threaten human jobs since the robots will be used for manufacturing jobs that rely on repetitive skills. “We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added element in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control.”
Foxconn has previously been under fire for less-than-ideal labor conditions, especially during high demand periods. The company came under headlines over a string of suicides in 2010. During high demand periods, Foxconn employees had been overworked, sleep-deprived, and underpaid.
China is moving towards automating its manufacturing process and has been heavily investing in robots. According to the South China Morning Post, over 500 companies in the Kunshan region have invested around $610 million (4 billion yuan) in automating its workforce.
Robots are being developed for jobs in the service sector as well. According to the BBC, former McDonals CEO Ed Renis has predicted that a $15 per hour minimum work wage would prompt companies to consider robot workers. “It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries,” he said.
Luxe Electronics is a distributor of electronic components. The company is located in Amesbury, MA.
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