Inside Huawei’s factory where robots work alongside humans to build smartphones

While most of us struggle to go a few hours without our smartphone glued to our hand, many people are likely unaware of the intricate process that goes into making their smartphone.

Now, Huawei has given Mirror Online a glimpse into its smartphone production line, where hundreds of thousands of devices are churned out every day.

After donning a fetching lab coat and hairnet, Mirror Online’s Deputy Science and Technology Editor, Shivali Best, was allowed to visit one of Huawei’s factories in Songshan Lake this week.

Currently, the factory is producing Huawei’s flagship smartphone, the P30 Pro, but the production lines can also be tweaked to produce other models.

Inside the factory are several parallel production lines, each measuring around 120 metres in length.

While each line was previously overseen by 86 human workers, they now only require 17 workers – thanks to the addition of robots.

Huawei explained: “From raw materials to outbound, including distribution, assembly, testing and packaging, most of the process is automated.”

Each smartphone begins with a motherboard, which is constructed from tiny components, fed into a machine on rolls of tape.

This construction and soldering is done by an automated system, before the motherboard undergoes a rigorous quality check.

Huawei said: “Huawei has zero tolerance for defects, and always puts quality first. That means quality enjoys the highest priority. In doing so, Huawei delivers better user experience and becomes a tech brand consumers love.”

Once a motherboard has passed the quality check, it passes along a conveyor belt to the next station, where the rest of the hardware, including the case, front screen, battery and front and rear cameras are put together – again, by an automated machine.

However, after the hardware has been assembled, a factory worker then jumps in, encasing the entire device in a white protective shell. This ensures that the smartphone is fingerprint-free by the time it reaches the customer.

At this point, the smartphone goes through a test that would make many people squirm – the dreaded drop test.

Thankfully, the drop is only from a height of 30cm, meaning there’s very little risk of that dreaded smashed screen.

Once the hardware has been quality checked, it’s time to get the software onto the smartphone.

Again, this section of the process is done by an automated system – in this case a series of drawers where the smartphone is tested against various functions, including audio quality and media playback.


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