Collaborative robot industry supply chain formed in Zibo

(| Updated : 2023-02-09

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Newfangled collaborative robots have seen a rapid rise in China and the world's top collaborative robot enterprise is said to be emerging in Zibo city, located in East China's Shandong province.

Collaborative robots, known as "cobots", are designed to work alongside humans rather than in isolation. They can augment humans in a range of tasks, from assembling electronic parts, pouring from a coffee machine to packaging smartphones.

Zibo-based AUBO (Shandong) Robotics Technology Co Ltd is understood to be working towards promoting the localization of core components and building a multi-billion-level cooperative robot ecosystem.

In 2022, production and sales of AUBO's collaborative robots topped 10,000 units, making the company the second biggest of its kind in the world and the first in China.

Production and sales of AUBO's collaborative robots are projected to exceed 20,000 units in 2023 and surpass Danish Universal Robots to become top in the collaborative robots market, said company chairman Han Yongguang.

Since cooperative robots follow instructions 100 percent, with more refined operations and greatly improved safety compared with manpower, they are becoming increasingly more popular in industrial processes. In fact, the company in January renewed an order for 7,500 cooperative robots with giant Chinese manufacturer BYD.

Last August, AUBO's smart factory for the core components of cooperative robots started operations. In the factory, robots are on duty to produce core components for cooperative robots, which is expected to improve the company's overall productivity.

In addition to the robots being used in industrial fields, AUBO also produces robots for everyday use, such as making coffee. The company plans to issue the world's first miniaturized six-axis robot in May.

For example, it will announce a desktop coffee robot, which will occupy a smaller space compared with the existing products on the market. The volume of the main engine will be reduced by 85 percent, the weight of the mechanical arm is reduced by 50 percent, the coffee load is increased by 30 percent and the price of the product is reduced by 50 percent.

It is expected that in 2023, AUBO's annual revenue will exceed 1.2 billion yuan ($177.6 million), with profits and taxes of 150 million yuan.


AUBO is working with Showyu Health Technology to produce robots for traditional Chinese medicine therapy. [Photo/Zibo News]

To form a complete industry supply chain for cooperative robots, four upstream and downstream firms – including Chengdu Showyu Health Technology Co Ltd – have settled in the Linzi district of Zibo.

An integrated circuits materials industry base, developed by CETC Northern intelligent electric (Beijing) Co Ltd, was located in Linzi last year.

On completion, production of an entire industry supply chain – from electromagnetic encoders to harmonic retarders to servo motors and cooperative robots – will be formed.