The South Korean government is keenly aware that China is catching up on hi-tech consumer gadgets such as smartphones, which awarded Samsung a massive investment to create fully automated factory system that is cheaper than China’s famed sweatshop workers.

Factory robot seen at expo in Korea middle of this year
Seen at expo in Korea middle of this year

According to Korean Yonhap news, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy pumped in US$14.8 million (RM$63.4 million) to make the system ready by year 2018. Samsung will build precision speed reducers, motors, controllers and sensor encoders – which specifically targeting complex tasks that are usually carried with human fingers like the China’s workers.

Later on, the robots will be upgraded to work on delicate electronic products such as smartphones and other consumer electronics that requires the precision of human fingers. The goal is to reduce dependence on China as the workers demanded more pay and exercising more labour rights which is squeezing the profit margins lately.

Once affordable robots reach the market and are more widely used, it can lead to the creation of ‘smart factories’ and bring about far-reaching innovations to the manufacturing sector,” according to the ministry.

If Samsung is successful in this development, the chaebol will provide the blueprint of mass produced, six-axis vertical articulated robots so Korean companies can compete against China.

The global robotic factory industry is worth around US$10.7 billion (RM$45.8 billion) in 2014 and perhaps it is the ultimate goal of this research.

But do you agree with the full automation of the electronics industry? let us know in the comments below.