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Robots revolutionizing China's manufacturing sector


11-04-2014 04:15 BJT

With future projections of robot sales in China going through the roof, many are optimistic that rising automation in the nation's factories will cut costs and manufacturing times. A report by the International Federation of Robotics predicts that demand for industrial robots is rising 25 percent annually in China.

When most people think of robots, they think of the humanoid type, not a mechanical arm able to mimic the delicate function of a human hand.

"This robot is very much like our arm," GSK CNC Equipment Co., Ltd engineer Zhang Ping said. "For example, let's look at this. We call it a platform. It functions just like our joints. And this shoulder joint can do a 360 degree spin. "

Robots can not only work like us, they can do it for longer, faster and more accurately.

And when it comes to hazardous jobs such as welding, robots reduce the risks to human workers by taking on the dangers themselves.

Here at this fully automated workshop in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang there are no human workers, as robots are being made by robots.

"A traditional assembly line takes three to four workers to assemble two units in one hour," Ha Enjing, head of Publicity Dept of Siasun Robot & Automation Co., Ltd, said. "Since we are fully automated using robots we can assemble 10 units in one hour without even one worker. The productivity is five to 10 times higher."

In no industry, is the use of robotics more lucrative and vital to production than the automotive sector.

Last year, China bought 37 thousand robots, including 9,000 that were made domestically. More than half went on to be used in auto manufacturing.

On the production line at the Faw-Volkswagen plant in the Southern Chinese city of Foshan, manual labor is noticeably absent.

"Robots are energy saving and environmentally friendly. And they can ensure the consistency of products," Chen Dapeng, General Managerfaw-Volkswagen, Foshan, said. "When you set the parameters right, you can ensure that output quality is right. This is something manual labor cannot measure up to."

Robots are also venturing into low-end manufacturing.

At this kitchen ware factory in Foshan, several robots, who were brought in not long ago, are changing the manufacturing game.

They're slashing costs, cutting production times and reducing the amount of factory floor space needed.

"Work that needed 100 men before can now be done with 40 men," Chen Jiale, Technical Director of Guangdong Yingao Kitchen Utensils Co., Ltd, said. "And now we can have the same output using 800 square meters of space. Before, we had to use 5000 square meters."

With the latest in cutting edge robotic technology, the world's factory is becoming increasingly automated, which will help usher in China's next stage of manufacturing.

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