China being the first country where machines have replaced the man-power. In a factory there, where around 5000 workers were required, the entire procedure is taken over by machines executing the operations and only a supervisory head to look into it is on his foot.
About 20,000 packages an hour are sorted by machine at JD.com's largest robot-run warehouse in Shanghai, China.The company has three million orders a day ranging from smartphones and televisions to nappies.
They deliver their entire products in just a span of 4 minutes. Almost 3mn orders a year are in place. Pack pick, unpack and out all in a go.
Things move very quickly around there. They go into a machine segregating the stocks accordingly. The machine has a dimension of distributing it accordingly. These were a plan for fully automatic warehouse. Even loading –unloading of packages is done by the machines.
Recently they revealed , their own way of delivering, through a prototype machine which could be taken to anyplace in China as it is a big country to Chinese far flung places.
“Using the predator we analyse the purchase pattern, we predict that our community is going to have this kind of needs and our target is that delivering before the order can even happen. It is slightly a record broken thing and quite unrealistic too knowing the ifs and buts all over but this is definitely taking things to another level. The speedy process has gone way above our imagination today.” Said a spokesperson.
“The robots have produced almost three times as many pieces as were produced before” he added.
How effective is it?
The increased production rate hasn't come at the cost of quality either. In fact, quality has improved. Before the robots, the product defect rate was 25%, now it is below 5%.
The gravest fear that has rippled through humanity from the technology industry is that, someday, almost all of our jobs will be replaced by robots.
While that fear is often laughed off as something that will only happen far into the future, the truth is that it's actually happening right now.
automated production lines that use robotic arms to produce parts for cell phones. The factory also has automated machining equipment, autonomous transport trucks, and other automated equipment in the warehouse.
There are still people working at the factory, though. Three workers check and monitor each production line and there are other employees who monitor a computer control system. Previously, there were 650 employees at the factory. With the new robots, there's now only 60. Luo Weiqiang, general manager of the company,
The growth of robotics in the area's factories comes amidst a particularly harsh climate around factory worker conditions, highlighted by strikes in the area. One can only wonder whether automation will add fuel to the fire or quell some of the unrest.
The reason for change?
According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), electronics production was one of the biggest growth drivers for the sales of industrial robots. China was the largest market for industrial robotics in 2014 with nearly 60,000 robots sold.
Some of the influx of robotics in the region is due to the Made in China 2025initiative, and we will continue to see automation affect the area and potentially reduce the number of manufacturing jobs. Additionally, in March, 2015, the Guangdong government announced a three year plan to increase automation in the region by subsidizing the purchase of robots.
- Harsha Masand