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back to index backCHINAtalk May,  2017


A Robot Revolution, This Time in China

Even a decade ago, car manufacturing in China was still a fairly low-tech, labor-intensive endeavor. Thousands of workers in a factory, earning little more than $1 an hour, performed highly repetitive tasks, while just a handful of industrial robots dotted factory floors.

No longer.

At Ford’s newest car assembly plant in Hangzhou in east-central China, at least 650 robots, resembling huge, white-necked vultures, bob and weave to assemble the steel structures of utility vehicles and midsize sedans. Workers in blue uniforms and helmets still do some of the welding, but much of the process has been automated.

The state-of-the-art factory exemplifies the vast transformation that has taken place across manufacturing in China. General Motors opened a similarly ultra-modern Cadillac factory in the eastern suburbs of Shanghai, as well as one in Wuhan. Other automakers are also pouring billions of dollars into China, now the world’s largest auto market.

Robots are critical to China’s economic ambitions, as Chinese companies look to move up the manufacturing chain. The Ford assembly plant is across the street from a robot-producing factory owned by Kuka, the big German manufacturer of industrial robots that a Chinese company bought last summer.

To read entire article, please click here.

Source: The New York Times - GAI



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