Samsung and automation: a new level of smartphone mass production

by: J. Angelo RacomaMay 21, 2013


Ever wondered how Samsung manages to produce millions and millions of mobile devices while still keeping costs down? Well, Samsung is likely able to bring these costs even lower, as it plans to increase automation in its manufacturing process. According to Korean publication ETNews, Samsung has launched its “Gumi Project” earlier this year, which is aimed at reducing — and eventually eliminating — human involvement in manufacturing devices.

The project was actually launched in early 2012, although the Korean company is reportedly still finding ways to further reduce the need for human hands (and intellect) in producing its devices. For instance, while surface-mounting technology — which is a core smartphone manufacturing process — is now fully automated, there are still “feeder” processes that require human intervention, in particular changing the parts needed for SMT.

Additionally, inspecting the finished product or milestones leading to a finished product will still require visual inspection. This might be a bit more difficult to accomplish, as Samsung will need to replace human intelligence with algorithms that can spot defects or inconsistencies in the finished product.

According to reports, Samsung is planning to complete development of its Gumi Project by first half of 2014, and will implement it in a pilot program by second half of that year. To make it easier to implement the changes on Samsung’s manufacturing facilities, the said changes will be launched as a platform, and the company’s new factory in Vietnam (in Thai Nguyen) will initially implement the platform by 2015, with a target output of 120 million smartphones per year.

It seems Samsung is on its way to perfecting its manufacturing process, so far as removing, or at least minimizing, human intervention, which can be costly (and which can sometimes incur errors in judgment). As this will reduce the cost of device manufacturing, will it also mean cheaper smartphones and tablets for end consumers? What lessons will other brands and manufacturers pick up from today’s top-selling smartphone brand?

  • uu

    Does it mean samsung will not have any problems manufacturing millions of devices without using plastic? I think it is now time for them to leave hyperglazed in the dust

  • simpleas

    Gosh I love these guys!

  • RarestName

    They keep costs down because plastic is cheaper than other materials. Not complaining though.

  • Mark

    Samsung rocks, I love it.

    BuyCheapIndia . com

  • Please always make room for us wealthy folk aswell. Produce a premium device and charge as much as you want. Dont get all crazy with this cuting cost stuff. Loving my note 2 thanks.

    • simpleas

      lol “wealthy folks”.. I dont think you have to be wealth to own a top tier smart phone. I do agree, Note 2 rocks!

  • nishantsirohi123

    the comments section should be renamed as “whiny bimbos sections”

    none of these people here have any knowledge whatsoever about what is being discussed in this article or what it means for the smartphone industry.

    I feel this a great initiative by samsung. They could very well be taking orders from other device manufacturers as well
    this is basically great from small time device makers with innovative ideas(remember yotaphone) to actually churn out devices with similar level of quality and less investment required for setting up of a manufacturing unit(of course most companies have vendors who make the devices for them)

  • candlelarbra5212

    Why do some people think this is good thing? (besides what I beg to be sarcastic comments) More money for a company who already makes billions? Well this is just the best news ever.

    What it really means is people losing their jobs, losing them fast and probably without any other job after their redundancy.

    I mean you’ve got companies who pay so little to their workers in the first place but then they have to remove them completely. Hardly a shining beacon of hope to starving millions who need to get out of poverty (or even eat) one way or another.

    • Dash Foster

      This is a really good point that you bring up. Unfortunately Samsung is not the only company that does this, most of the clothing manufactures in the Unites States still use sweat shops in developing countries. Its cool that you looked at this in a different way and realized what is really happening.

    • Where I am not without compassion for people that may lose their jobs, you can’t expect businesses to make decisions that go against profitability and success for the sake of saving jobs. I know many people believe this makes a company evil, but what you need to remind yourself is that companies aren’t started to provide a job for people. Too many times people expect businesses to behave as charities. I have been on the raw end of 2 downsizings in my career, so I understand the position it puts people in. However, I was able to get back on my feet on both occasions and life carried on. Also where some manufacturing jobs will be lost, some distribution and sales jobs will likely open due to higher product output.

  • rvichar

    I thought the galaxy was based on the human experience and nature. How about humans stop buying all this plastic and silicone cranked out every six months. The cycle is a vicious cycle of endless waste.

  • Ruzveh

    I am personally not in favour of what Samsung is following. This also means that there will be job losses and many manufacturer will be forced to adopt this practise since they will face tight competition from Samsung. If little increase in price of a mobile phone can run millions of homes then why not?

  • LeoN N

    Samsung Skynet…here it comes…get ready John Connor!

  • No guarantees on whether cost savings is transferred to the consumers or not… my guess is that it’s not… simply cost savings to increase their profits i guess… so how does that make this news a good thing? it is simply irrelevant except from a technological point of view…

    Beside it will just give them more reasons to crank out 120 million phones which are named differently but all sport the same design…

  • jj

    The main lesson other companies will learn is fire some thousands of workers and let their families starve.

  • i wish i won this awsome phone :)

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