Gigaset Smartphone Production IV: Quality Inspection
Since 1941 Siemens has been producing telephones in the small town of Bocholt, Germany. Today there are still 550 workers making cordless telephones for Gigaset, which separated from Siemens in 2010. In 2018 Gigaset started producing the first smartphone made in Germany.
While the individual electronic parts for the GS185 smart phone are still being imported from Asia the finished product is put together in Bocholt. The special thing about the production is that the phone is put together by 8 employees at a time in a U-production-line with the help of robots or “cobots” by the company Universal Robots. These digital colleagues work collaborative, which means that they are involved in some of the production processes that need high technical precision. Other tasks that need more sensitivity are executed by employees. Thus robots and employees work hand in hand.
At the quality inspection two robots test all the functions of the phones. Two phones can be checked at a time. Normally the quality inspection is done by hand but at Bocholt it has been automatized. Each robot grabs a pointing device and moves towards the phone which has been positioned in tray to stay in place. With the pointing device the robot pushes all the possible functions and “buttons” on the touch screen of the phone. If it recognises any malfunctions it puts the phone into a tray for the “bad ones” otherwise it puts it into a tray for the “good ones”.
Normally this process is entirely silent. You can only hear the ventilators of the robots and surrounding machinery. For this recording however quality check was made audible for us by activating the touchtone. Thus we can hear how one of the robots pushes the “buttons”.
As this recording was made during running production there are other sounds in the background like the noise of other working processes within the u-production line and the ventilators in the hall.
Sound Recordist: Kathinka Engels
Photographer/Video Recordis: Inke Pickhardt