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China opens its first ‘All Robots operated Factory’…Will manual jobs go redundant?

A Chinese firm, Changying Precision Technology, has set up the first unmanned factory or an all robots operated factory at Dongguan city, which is regarded as a solution to overcome China’s aging demographics and high dependence on manual workers.

In this plant, all the processes are operated by computer- controlled robots, computer numerical control machining equipment, unmanned transport trucks and automated warehouse equipment.

According to Luo Weiqiang, general manager of the company, “A robot arm can replace six to eight workers, now there are 60 workers and the number will be reduced to 20 in the future. Each line has an automatic belt with just three workers who are just responsible for checking lines and monitoring. A few months ago, it required 650 workers to finish this process”.

Unmanned Factory
Unmanned Factory

Data at the Dongguan factory show that since the robots came to the plant the defect rate of products has dropped from over 25 per cent to less than 5 per cent and the production capacity from more than 8,000 pieces per person per month increased to 21,000 pieces.

The Dongguan city plans to finish 1,000 to 1,500 “robot replace human” programmes by 2016 as part of the ‘Made in China’ strategy 2025.

However, this poses the very next question, as to what will be the answer to the growing ‘human’ unemployment in this scenario? The big conglomerates will certainly invest in this ‘robotics’ technology to beat the human faults and overcome the labor issues, however this development ignores another issue that might crop up soon. The wastage of human resources.

Where would the unemployed labor go? How will they earn the living? There will not be any overnight skills they might acquire and therefore we need to take all the possible scenarios into account before transitioning to programmes such as these “robots replace human”.

Source: Eco Times