- Publisher：DongguanSongshan Lake Sci. & Tech. Industry Park
From September 19 to 23, the 20th China International Industry Fair (hereinafter referred to as the “Industry Fair”) was held in Shanghai. At this international event, established robotics enterprises such as KUKA and FANUC remained high-profile and active as always. Some emerging enterprises also started to show their strength and rising innovation stars saw accelerating rise.
With the support and guidance of government departments at various levels, Dongguan Songshan Lake coordinated the deployment of development strategies in the industrial park and led a delegation formed by nearly 20 robotics enterprises to attend this year’s Industry Fair. They attracted a great deal of attention at the Industry Fair.
This also marks the third Industry Fair of Songshan Lake. There are only a few delegations that represent a region, and Songshan Lake is one of them. In the past few years, the robotics legion of Songshan Lake has been growing steadily. The number of its enterprises attending the Industry Fair rises from just several to nearly 20 this year. The form of exhibition also evolves from group exhibition to independent exhibition of multiple star enterprises.
Except for the quantity, the quality is even more impressive. With the contiguous emergence of world-leading robotics products, Songshan Lake is writing a new chapter of the high-quality era of robotics industry through the Industry Fair.
The Robot Legion Impressed the Industry Fair
The 20th Industry Fair saw the initial launch of over 60 robotics products. The latest technologies such as man-robot collaboration and digital factories made a sensation. The size of the exhibition and the number of visitors both reached historic high. Robotics enterprises from the Songshan Lake such as Tianji Robot, Borunte, Capek, Banrin Robot, Vector, QTSTEAM, Nasheng Technology, Vision Dragon and Yuanzhu Intelligent all brought their latest products.
“This UFO-like product is in fact a mobile target robot applied to security testing for self-driving cars and it can simulate the trajectory for giving way and overtaking through automatic programing.” In the exhibition area of Songshan Lake, the mobile robots of AgileX Robotics have garnered extensive attention from both Chinese and foreign media. According to Jiang Yixuan, co-founder of AgileX Robotics, the mobile target robot is the first of its kind in the country. It has been applied to the research of self-driving vans of Changsha Intelligent Driving Institute. It can mitigate damage risk of the self-driving vans in the testing process and significantly reduce the testing cost.
Currently, manufacturing is shifting from mass production with few varieties to low-volume production with various varieties. Most manufacturing enterprises are such challenges as increasing cost pressure, increasing demand for product variety and changing output demand. Man-robot collaboration has become a trend of intelligent manufacturing. At the Industry Fair, the robot that supports man-robot collaboration of Guangdong Intelligent Robotics Institute (hereinafter referred to as the Intelligent Institute) also attracted a lot of visitors. According to Ni Mingtang, Deputy Director of the Intelligent Institute, different from traditional industrial robot that requires security fence to separate from man, the robot that supports man-robot collaboration are more easy to handle. It can cooperate, interact with man in the same work space and finish the work together. Through drag demonstration, the operator can accomplish points demonstration easily and quickly. “Once unexpected clash occurs, the collaborative robot will automatically stop running and protect the operator and peripheral devices from being hurt or damaged.”
At the other end of the exhibition hall of Chinese robots, the independent exhibition area of Topstar has been surrounded with visitors throughout the Industry Fair.
“This i-watch components assembly work station is most popular. Many engineers are quite interested in it as it involves collaboration of multiple robots and vision application technology.” Zhang Peng, General Manager of the Robot Department of Guangdong Topstar Technology Co., Ltd. introduced while pointing to the work station before the negotiation area. Topstar thoughtfully arranged its exhibition area by displaying its core robotics ontology and vision, automation of simplex station, the complete intelligent production line, and intelligent factory sandbox. By doing so, it actually presented a comprehensive display of its services which evolve from separated points to lines, then to continuum surface, and finally to a network formed by “industrial automation + industrial internet”. Such practice of the company has been praised by many vendors.
“This year, we bring over a dozen outstanding robotics enterprises from the industrial park to the Industry Fair. The businesses of these enterprises cover robotics ontology, core components and intelligent equipment. Many of them have grown into leading industrial figures, which also shows our persistent dedication.” According to Fang Shaowen, Director of Songshan Lake Science and Technology Bureau, robotics industry represents a key industry in Songshan Lake and it was granted one of the third batch of pilots of national innovative industrial clusters by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2017. At present, Songshan Lake is home to over 300 robotics enterprises and more than 7,000 professional talents. From January to July this year, 22 robotic enterprises above designated size generated gross industrial output value of 2.136 billion RMB, a year-on-year growth of 36.6%.
At the same time, the ecological chain of robotics industry in the industrial park has also taken shape. A comprehensive development support system for robotics industry is in place, after its evolvement from robotics research institute, robotics industry incubator, to high-level testing institute, industrial supply chain, and government-led professional service team. The system has experienced R&D cultivation, to start-up support, and now intensified strength.
Breakthroughs Should First Be Sought in Key Areas
In recent years, Guangdong has been insisting on innovation-driven development and its robotics industry has witnessed rapid development with its strategies of seeking breakthroughs in key areas and building strategic emerging industrial clusters. According to the statistics released by Guangdong Provincial Economic and Information Commission, in the first half of 2018, the output of industrial robots in Guangdong reached 13,621, a year-on-year increase of 54.9%, accounting for 22.67% of the country’s total output. Headquartered in Songshan Lake, Quotient Kinematics Machine is a backbone robotics enterprise in Guangdong and it has attended the Industry Fair for several consecutive years. It used to hold a narrow and remote place at the fair, but now it represents a rising star of China’s robotics industry with an exhibition area of over 500 square meters. With the support from governments at various levels, Quotient Kinematics Machine constantly pushes the envelope concerning core technologies in key areas.
At the booth of Quotient Kinematics Machine, it can be found that the latest launched AH3 robot distinguishes itself form that of others. Its world-pioneering distributed integrated drive-control-power architecture makes it possible to continuously reduce the size of controller and form an all-in-one industrial robot, leading a new generation of intelligent control system in the country.
In the previously released projects of the 2017 provincial science and technology development exclusive fund, the above new generation of intelligent control system applied by Quotient Kinematics Machine has been listed as a major science and technology project related to frontier and key technology innovation. Kong Bing, General Manager of Quotient Kinematics Machine said that in the long run, robotics enterprises should master their own control system and bottom technology.
This view was echoed by Luo Rihui, Deputy Manager of Incode Automation. Through years of research and development, Incode Automation has developed absolute value encoder without depending on export from abroad. The precision error of the encoder is controlled within 10 μm. The past few years has seen substantial price drop of absolute value encoders, which has significantly lowered the cost for robotics enterprises.
At this year’s Industry Fair, Incode Automation is one of the most popular exhibitors among all other exhibitors from Songshan Lake. Many Chinese and foreign visitors stayed at its exhibition booth for detailed communication and exchanges. Luo Rihui said that the enterprises are provided with a good platform which was attributed to Songshan Lake’s efforts in organizing a delegation to attend the Industry Fair.
Efforts Should Be Made to Build an International Robotics Talent Team
“We can find that AgileX Robotics, Quotient Kinematics Machine and Incode Automation all started from scratch when they landed on Songshan Lake. They all experienced their metamorphosis of innovation from 0 to 1 and then to N.”
Ren Yaoxin, Deputy Director of Songshan Lake Science and Technology Bureau, has been to the Industry Fair with the robotics enterprises in the park for three times. From his perspective, innovation does not take place in isolation. Aside from self-reliant efforts, enterprises, robotics enterprises in particular, should draw on the strengths of their counterparts. They should pay close attention to frontier science and technology and act in accordance with market demand. By encouraging robotics enterprises in the industrial park to attend leading industrial exhibitions like the Industry Fair in the form of delegation, Songshan Lake wishes to enhance the overall competitiveness of its robotics enterprises, form a robotics talent team with better international vision, and build a more internationally competitive robotics industrial cluster.
Zhang Peng noted that Topstar has attended the Industry Fair for three years in a row. Every year at the exhibition, the first thing he did on the day of the opening ceremony was not checking the number of visitors to his booth, but visiting and staying at the booths of other counterparts. “I want to see what and how the other counterparts display.”
“We need to create more opportunities to learn from leading counterparts and improve ourselves in a down-to-earth manner,” said Zhang Peng.
Benefiting from the exhibition, Zhang Zengying, General Manager of Dongguan Super Sonics Technology, Co., Ltd., had the privilege to stand on the stage of this international fair and gave a promotional speech. She said she used to be a student entrepreneur who was only capable of supersonic technology, but now she has developed the world’s first supersonic handle. The handle has been applied by leading 3C intelligent manufacturing enterprises and will meet with explosive growth.
She said that starting from her journey of starting business in Songshan Lake eight years ago, she and her team have experienced many “first-time” and have been making progress. The Industry Fair has strengthened their conviction that enterprises must accelerate going out to look for better development. At the closing ceremony of the Industry Fair, excellent enterprises such as Dongbo Automation and Sowotech have already planned for their independent exhibition next year.