Sony TV’s Now Hand Built By Robots 70% Cheaper
Sony is not getting out of TV’s instead the Japanese Company is turning to robots and automation to cut the cost of their TV’s.
The Company who are struggling to compete with cheap Chinese TV’s and premium TVs from LG and Samsung is set to expand their Malaysian manufacturing plant using “off the shelf robots” to cut manufacturing costs by up to 70%
Sony recently introduced its first fully unstaffed production line at the facility outside Kuala Lumpur and will add the technology to other lines at the plant as well.
The Company is also set to use robotic manufacturing for their audio products that are very popular in Australia alongside JBL.
By using off-the-shelf robots while also developing their own control programming Sony believes that they can compete on price with several new low-cost Samsung TV’s due to hit the Australian market.
Full automation has been difficult in the past because of processes that involve parts that are hard for robots to handle, according to Sony executives.
Sony ranked fifth in the global market for flat-panel TVs in 2019, with its 5.4% share far behind leader Samsung Electronics’ 18.7% and second-place LG Electronics’ 15.2%, according to British research firm Euromonitor International.
The Japanese company does have a solid presence in high-end models.
The electronics industry has been reshaped by the rise of highly efficient contract manufacturers in China and Taiwan.
In the past Sony has outsourced a portion of production to other companies, now they intends to continue with in-house manufacturing mainly for high-performance models, saying it can make products with cutting-edge technology quickly and inexpensively.
Sony currently employs thousands of workers in Malaysia however this workforce is set to be cut significantly according to Sony executives.
Their plan also calls for automating audio equipment production that will be consolidated into the Kuala Lumpur facility after Sony closes its main audio equipment factory in Penang by September. Once the technology is firmly established there, the company will consider expanding it to factories elsewhere.
Many Japanese companies are grappling with rising labour costs in Southeast Asia. Annual compensation per worker, including benefits and bonuses, in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector averaged $7,048 in a fiscal 2020 survey by the Japan External Trade Organization.
With factors such as U.S.-China trade frictions and the accessibility of renewable energy complicating the question of where to set up production facilities, automation technology could give manufacturers one less issue to worry about.