Robots With A Delicate Touch Assemble PlayStation 4

Sony’s video game division is gearing up for their upcoming PlayStation 5, pushing its predecessor PlayStation 4 off the spotlit pedestal. One effect of this change is Sony ever so slightly relaxing secrecy surrounding the PS4, allowing [Nikkei Asian Review] inside a PlayStation 4 final assembly line.

This article was written to support Sony and PlayStation branding for a general audience, thus technical details are few and far in between. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise given how details of mass production can be a competitive advantage and usually kept as trade secrets by people who knew to keep their mouths shut. Even so, we get a few interesting details accompanied by many quality pictures. Giving us a glimpse into an area that was formerly off-limits to many Sony employees never mind external cameras.

The quoted engineers are proud of their success coaxing robots to assemble soft and flexible objects, and rightly so. Generally speaking robots have a hard time handling non-rigid objects, but this team has found ways to let their robots handle the trickier parts of PS4 assembly. Pick up wiring bundles and flat ribbon cables, then plug them into circuit board connectors with appropriate force. Today’s automated process is the result of a lot of engineers continually evolving and refining the system. The assembly machines are covered with signs of those minds at work. From sharpie markers designating positive and negative travel directions for an axis, to reminders written on Post-It notes, to assembly jig parts showing the distinct layer lines of 3D printing.

We love seeing the result of all that hard work, but lament the many interesting stories still untold. We would have loved a video showing the robots in action. For that, the record holder is still Valve who provided an awesome look at the assembly of the Steam Controller that included a timelapse of the assembly line itself being assembled. If you missed that the first time, around, go watch it right now!

At least we know how to start with the foundations: everything we see on this PS4 assembly line is bolted to an aluminum extrusion big or small. These building blocks are useful whether we are building a personal project or a video console final assembly line, so we’ve looked into how they are made and how to combine them with 3D printing for ultimate versatility.

[via Adafruit]

13 thoughts on “Robots With A Delicate Touch Assemble PlayStation 4

  1. Something was loose in the motherboard rack photo. Apparently the screw wouldn’t tighten further so someone put a washer under it and a paperclip to take up the slack. Another picture shows some sort of baffle hacked together from black coroplast and clear packing tape, and on the right is something, possibly a camera, affixed to the framework with what appears to be be some type of silicone putty. Another photo farther down shows a couple of pieces of what looks like green masking tape (Frog Tape?) holding something in place.

    That assembly line is full of quick and dirty hacks. :)

    1. People can make money by building robots which can play Playstation all day. Finally humankind would not have to go thru the trouble of work AND leisure time! Personally I would favour it if we all just go into cryogenic sleep.

    2. Dumbing down the world to support glutton culture is one thing most nations on Earth share… There are a lot of things that should of been automated decades ago, but people barely learn long-division and are lazy and entitled..

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