Thursday, March 24, 2016

Inside Liam

Samantha Murphy Kelly:

Liam is a large-scale robot, with 29 freestanding robotic arms at various skill stations. But while most assembly-line robots help put together products you’ll one day hold in your hands, Liam is hard at work disassembling your ruined, returned iPhones.


At some stations, robots worked in pairs; because some iPhones come back with corrosion, the first robot may try five times to remove a screw, while the second is free to move on to another task on the same device without slowing down the process. Apple claims that Liam yields a 97 percent success rate for removing each component.


Liam completes an iPhone disassembly process every 11 seconds, with dozens running through the system at all times. About 350 units are turned around each hour, equivalent to 1.2 million iPhones each year. Apple wouldn’t say when Liam started its work, but emphasized the project is still in the research and development stages.

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