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PlayStation’s Secret Weapon: An almost fully automated factory

Almost every stage of this PlayStation factory is automated, people only intervene in two stages, inserting the circuit board and packaging the final product.

Since its launch in 1994, Sony’s PlayStation game console has sold hundreds of millions of units worldwide. But only a few people know how this success has come from a factory in their bay area of ​​Tokyo.

On the outskirts of Kisarazu, an office building with a tall tower stands out in the landscape of the suburbs. But when inside, visitors will be greeted by the screech of the engines of dozens of different robots assembling PlayStation 4 gaming consoles.

The whole factory only had a few people in it to do some unimportant things – two people to put circuit boards on the production line and two others to pack a complete gaming console.

But all the remaining work in this assembly plant is done by robots provided by Mitsubishi. Completed in 2018, the 31.4-meter-long production line can now assemble a PlayStation 4 every 30 seconds.

This Kisarazu plant is operated by Sony Global Manufacturing $ Operations, or SGMO, the Sony group’s production division. It works with Sony Interactive Entertainment to develop advanced technologies into this production facility.

One of the factory’s outstanding achievements is the use of robots to attach wires, ribbons and other flexible components to game consoles. Up to 26 of the 32 robots at the Kisarazu factory are dedicated to this mission, a job that requires ingenious skills that most robots will find too difficult to do.

For example, to attach a flat and flexible cable, like a tape, to the game board, one robot arm will be needed to hold the cable and another to twist it. The cable will then need to be mounted in a certain direction with moderate force – a simple thing for humans but extremely complicated for robots.