robots in manufacturing

Robots in Manufacturing



row (3) worth it a thing of the past
decade going on position (2)
wane cut down competitive
entirely floor (2) breakneck (2)
turn to maintain automation
shrink produce production line
replace subsidy cut out of the equation
cut out edge (2) workforce
entice eliminate turnover (3)







This is the new face of China’s workforce. The rows and rows of low-skilled workers working long hours for low pay could soon be a thing of the past.

There’s a quiet revolution going on on China’s factory floors — and that revolution is robotics. China is now the biggest user of industrial robots in the world. It took that position last year, from Japan.

China’s workforce is shrinking as the population ages, and interest in low-level jobs is waning.

It’s pushing up labor costs and eroding China’s competitiveness after decades of breakneck growth.

To maintain their edge, many companies are turning to automation.

Three years ago, before robots arrived, a production line of forty people would produce about eight hundred of these — the computer mouse — every hour.

Now with robots, ten people can produce about the same amount.

General manager Pboll Deng tells me he brought the first robots to cut down on mistakes and to eliminate problems caused by high staff turnover.

It’s been so successful that Pboll’s robots make robots for other factories, cutting people out of the equation almost entirely.

Pboll Deng, General Manager, Rapoo Technology Co. “As long as the price of robots is decreasing more and more, and as long as the cost of labor continues to rise, then this investment is worth it. And more and more automation will happen.”

The local government here is offering subsides totaling a hundred and fifty billion dollars over the next three years to entice companies to replace workers with robots.

And under Beijing’s grand plan for the Chinese economy, most workers will be reemployed in the country’s growing services sector.

Andrew Stevens, CNN, Shenzhen, China.

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1. China’s manufacturing and industrial workforce is changing. True or false? If yes, how has it been changing?

2. Does Germany have the most industrial robots in the world?

3. Has China’s labor demographics and laborforce been changing? If yes, how has it been changing?

4. Do companies prefer robots or people? What advantages do robots have?

5. What trends did Pboll Deng talk about? What does he predict for the future?

6. The government is against automation, robots and computers. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. What will happen to workers who have been made redundant by robots?


A. My company or organization uses robots. Yes or no? Does it use computers?

B. Can (some) jobs in your company be replaced by robots or computers?

C. What will happen in the future?

D. How do your friends feel about automation and robotics?

E. What should happen to laid off workers? What should workers who have been made redundant do?


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