|Credit: Bloomberg Business Week|
The robots will be used to do simple and routine work such as spraying, welding and assembling which are now mainly conducted by workers.
In 2010 Foxconn has been recognized in western media for workers suicides and military management practices.
Foxconn currently has 10,000 robots on the assembly lines making iPhones and iPads. At the Longhua plant 137,000 iPhones a day, or about 90 a minute are produced.
Foxconn started using ABB robots in year 2000. when the company manufactured enclosures, primarily for desktop PCs and PC servers. The Shenzhen plant, with its more than 80 000 employees is the biggest industry in China, having such prestigious customers as Dell, Apple, HP, Cisco, Symaco and Nokia. In 2007 ABB transfered the production of its IRB 1600 from Västerås, Sweden to ABB’s production unit in Shanghai. Foxconn was a major contributing factor for this move.
ABB is so far the only multinational company to produce industrial robots in China, and its locally developed and manufactured robotic products and systems are shipped around the world to equip the production lines of leading manufacturers. In 2010 ABB Robotics Division presented the IRB 120, the first core product developed by ABB Robotics Division in China. It is the smallest robot of ABB ever with features of alert movement, compact structure and light weight. This robot, weighing only 25 kilograms, can work in a range up to 580mm, and achieves a resetting accuracy at 0.01mm. It only takes it 0.58 second to pick up every kilogram of materials. With a superior performance in materials handling and assembling, it can be used in a wide range of industries, including the electronics, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, medical and scientific research sectors. It takes an obvious advantage over other similar robots when handling and assembling small parts, especially where space is at a premium.
The Chinese government has stressed the development of robotics in its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), in a bid to increase the level of manufacturing automation, which is key to improving China's competitiveness. Although the robotics business was originally driven by strong demand from the automobile industry, ABB is seeking opportunities in other sectors as more companies expand and seek better quality control and production efficiency.
300.000 Industrial robots annual shipment 2011-2013?
One million industrial robot shipment means about 300.000 units p.a., which is 3 times the global industrial robot shipment in 2010.
According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) about 115,000 industrial robots were shiped in 2010, which means that the number of units sold worldwide almost doubled compared to the very weak year 2009. In 2011 a further increase of robot sales between 10% and 15% is expected which would bring a new peak level of about 130,000 sold units within reach. Between 2012 and 2014 a moderate annual growth rate of 5% (in average) is more likely.
According to a report in January 2011 by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Global Industrial Robotics Market might reach 143.000 shipment units by 2015.
According to US Robotic Industries Association (RIA), a total of 8879 robots valued at $577.8 million were ordered by North American companies in the first six months of the year. When orders from outside North America are added, the totals are 10,476 robots valued at $667.9 million, the best first half for the robotics industry since 2007 according to Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA.