Sony factory assembles PS4 in 30 seconds, only four humans involved in process

midian182

Posts: 5,866   +48
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In brief: It’s no secret that robots are heavily involved in manufacturing, often at the expense of human jobs, and a Sony factory that builds the PlayStation 4 is no different. Its assembly line pumps out a fully functional console in just 30 seconds, and only four people are involved in the process.

As reported by the Nikkei Asian Review, the factory, operated by Sony’s manufacturing arm Sony Global Manufacturing & Operations, is found on the outskirts of Kisarazu across the bay from Tokyo.

The facility's 103-foot assembly line for the PlayStation 4 was completed in 2018. The assembly is done entirely by robots, with the only humans involved directly being the two that feed motherboards onto the line, and two that package the finished consoles.

The Kisarazu plant has 32 robots, supplied by Mitsubishi Electric, 26 of which are dedicated solely to attaching wires, tape, and other flexible parts to the consoles—a complex task that most robots would find too finicky. The PS4’s flexible flat cable, for example, requires one robot arm to hold up the cable and another to twist it. The cable then needs to be attached in the right direction with just the right amount of pressure.

“There’s probably no other site that can manipulate robots in this manner,” said one of the site’s engineers. “The blend of robotic and human labor is painstakingly optimized with a prority on return on investment.”

It’s unclear whether the more complex PlayStation 5 will also zoom through an assembly line in just 30 seconds, though a mostly automated process seems likely. We recently saw a photo of what’s alleged to be a PS5 that just came off a line, but the image could easily be a fake.

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Andrighi

Posts: 7   +2
This kind of factory is unique. Robots have some limitation when the hardware change. Unlike humans who adapt fast. That been said I think it will take some slight adjustment for the Playstation 5. I don't see however a large factory like the 2000's factory of Foxconn.
 
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Rjmachine

Posts: 53   +28
No wonder Sony beat Microsoft handily this gen. I hope to see Microsoft be more competitive for next gen. Xbox One was a disaster gen. Sony sold 110+ million vs Microsoft *shipped* 30 million, even tho Microsoft had more aggressive pricing overall.

Specs alone won't sell consoles. Games do. Especially high-rated exclusives like Sony keeps pushing.
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,760   +1,628
No wonder Sony beat Microsoft handily this gen. I hope to see Microsoft be more competitive for next gen. Xbox One was a disaster gen. Sony sold 110+ million vs Microsoft *shipped* 30 million, even tho Microsoft had more aggressive pricing overall.

Specs alone won't sell consoles. Games do. Especially high-rated exclusives like Sony keeps pushing.
I was an Xbox 360 guy but the launch of the Xbox One was just terrible, The console cost more than the PS4 even though it had lower specs, You were forced to always be online and they forced the Connect Camera on you, I believe when it originally launched, you had to have the camera always plugged in, I remember seeing people just putting blankets over the camera.
 
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Rjmachine

Posts: 53   +28
I was an Xbox 360 guy but the launch of the Xbox One was just terrible, The console cost more than the PS4 even though it had lower specs, You were forced to always be online and they forced the Connect Camera on you, I believe when it originally launched, you had to have the camera always plugged in, I remember seeing people just putting blankets over the camera.
LOL. Yes. No-one wanted that stupid camera!

I doubt many people wants a camera in their living room! TVs with camera failed miserably too.
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,020   +813
"The facility's 103-foot assembly line for the PlayStation 4 was completed in 2018"

By this point in time the PS5 would have easily been in the forecast and likely taken into consideration when designing this assembly line, almost as if the PS4 was a test platform for proof of concept. Either to be re-tooled or kept around pumping out PS4s to be sold along side the PS5 which will get is own similarly equipped robotic assembly line.

This could mean massive price drops for the PS4 as well as lower than anticipated launch prices for the PS5.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,045   +2,862
I was an Xbox 360 guy but the launch of the Xbox One was just terrible, The console cost more than the PS4 even though it had lower specs, You were forced to always be online and they forced the Connect Camera on you, I believe when it originally launched, you had to have the camera always plugged in, I remember seeing people just putting blankets over the camera.

I had Xbox One: Day One Edition.

#1 Kinect never forced you to be plugged in to play the system. You needed it, however to auto-login based on facial recognition.

#2 Body movement via Kinect was not smart because although it worked, most players typically sit still in front of the TV. Using it to lean around corners in Battlefield 4 was a gimmick easily forgotten. HOWEVER...I did like being able to use it to turn my head when flying jets in Battlefield.

#3 My favorite part of Xbox One was the voice controls.

My biggest problem with Xbox One was the lack of a user replaceable internal HDD. I HATE externals.
 

m4a4

Posts: 1,863   +1,609
TechSpot Elite
This could mean massive price drops for the PS4 as well as lower than anticipated launch prices for the PS5.
I doubt a little lower assembly cost will make much of an impact short term for the PS5. Parts are still what's going to be the bulk of the cost when manufacturing.

Both the XSX and PS5 are expected to sell at a loss, and I doubt MS or Sony plan on giving the other a leg up by being more expensive anyway...
 

Edster

Posts: 27   +20
I doubt a little lower assembly cost will make much of an impact short term for the PS5. Parts are still what's going to be the bulk of the cost when manufacturing.

Both the XSX and PS5 are expected to sell at a loss, and I doubt MS or Sony plan on giving the other a leg up by being more expensive anyway...
Yeah, I remember reading a breakdown of cost of PS4 (or was it PS3) and that the human component is a surprisingly small factor. And there is nothing to suggest that MS or Nintendo cannot have a facility that is similar in efficiency either. What this really helps with is satisfying the first half year demand where consoles of the more popular variant is often out of stock. The longer a customer waits for a product, the bigger chance they might not get it at all.


On the subject of last gen, what really killed Xbox vs PS4 was bad publicity. PS4 was cheaper at launch, but really not significantly cheaper through the life time or at all these days. MS backtracked on the game sharing limitation, there is really effectively nothing different, gimmicks aside, between the 2 consoles other than games on offer for most people. This also killed Xbox; as much as people would go on about Halo and Forza, they are fundamentally not really unique games and most would struggle to name more than a couple really stand out XB1 games. Whereas PS4 have the likes of FF7, Uncharted, Bloodborne, God of War, Spiderman, Last of Us, might not appeal to everyone, but it gives something different than shooting or racing games which is a dime a dozen these days.

Case in point is the new best exclusives list from another site, Techradar, recently. For Xbox, they have a top 10. For PS4, they had a top 20. Some of the games on the list are meh, for both consoles, but when a compilation is counted as a top 10 game (though not helped that a lot of XB1 games are on PC too). In some ways, I am no longer sure what is drawing people to the Xbox anymore unless you are ridiculously invested in Gears or Halo; or think that the higher graphical power on paper is actually meaningful in the next gen.