Your Xiaomi smartphone is pieced together, made, vetted by women

K V Kurmanath Sri City (Andhra Pradesh) | Updated on November 19, 2019

At the Sri City site, the women employees take care to install multiple cameras, without giving scope for dust particles to sneak in, and making them work in tandem to produce the desired output. Photo: Special Arrangement   -  Special Arrangement

About 180 women work to produce a smartphone at Foxconn’s facility for Xiaomi

If you are using a smartphone by Xiaomi, you would be interested to know who were involved in making it and how. Your phone may have passed through the deft hands of not less than 180 women working in a remote assembly line. From the word go to complex and repeated tests on various parts – it’s women who make your phone.

Barring a few male engineers, most of the work related to the phone is handled by women.

Drawn from the hinterlands of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu, the tenth class pass-outs barely talk to one another as they are focussed on their respective tasks.

Glued to their seats at the assembly lines at the 30-acre plot at the Sri City in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, a beeline of employees take care of 82-86 tasks (or cells), about 12-13 of them are critical.

The plant is run by Rising Stars Mobile India Private Limited, a fully-owned entity of global electronics manufacturer Foxconn, exclusively makes Mi branded smartphones for Chinese phone maker Xiaomi.

As the phone is being built, part by part, the women workers pass on piece to the colleague on their right on a slow moving conveyor built.

On a Monday morning shift, Kamala (name changed) works on a phone maker's new smart phone - Note 8 Pro. She is seen picking up PCBs (printed circuit board, the brain of any computing device) from a tray and fixes it in the appropriate slot and passes it on to her sitting on her right.

The matchboax sized PCBs, which are manufactured at Foxconn’s Tamil Nadu facility, have about 850 tiny parts on each board.

"Over 95 per cent of the staff in the Assembly lines are women. They will be given training in over 80 tasks. After a two-day induction programme they will be put on the lines,” Josh Foulger, Country Head and Managing Director of Foxconn India, has said.

Foxconn facility in Sri City

The Foxconn facility at Sri City is among the facilities in different locations in the country that churn out a smart phone every three seconds. Xiaomi sold about 10 crore phones in the last five years since its entry into the Indian market in 2015. According to market researcher IDC, Xiaomi has a share of 27.1 per cent in the smartphone market in the country in the September quarter.

A phone before reaching your hands, passes through a battery of tests at the design stage and at the assembline. The list includes extreme thermal test (-15 degree C +60 degree Celsius for nearly 20 hours), USB endurance test (10,000 times) and headset endurance test (5,000 times).

After procuring (about 2,500 parts, for different phone brands), rigorous tests are done at the local manufacturing facility too.

At the Sri City site, the women employees take care to install multiple cameras, without giving scope for dust particles to sneak in, and making them work in tandem to produce the desired output. The cameras too undergo screening, making them to identify different objects at different lengths – all in a regular Xerox copier sized machines.

Each of the parts also undergo quality testing too. “All of the devices are manually tested at three stages and all of them under go automated tested at 10 stages. Besides, there is an ageing process of eight hours, before they go for P2i coating chamber (which protects from dampening) for three hours,” Vijay, who overseas introduction of new products, has said.

In all, it takes about 24 hours before a phone is ready for shipping – from the word go to final packaging.

Published on November 19, 2019

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