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'Cobots' to play big role in manufacturing

By He Wei in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-29 17:23
A staff member (right) demonstrates the 5G-based remote control capabilities of a robot during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, Aug 29, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Collaborative solutions featuring robotics are set to help manufacturers stay competitive in this period of global economic uncertainty, and China's scale and policy advantages will put the nation among the forefront of automation adoption, according to a seasoned industry expert.

"China is so large that it has an almost self-sustaining character to it," said Jurgen von Hollen, president of Universal Robots, a company which specializes in manufacturing collaborative robots.

"If I compare China to all regions, it has the most aggressive and open stance toward supporting and driving automation technology," he said.

He made the remarks as the Danish firm launched a new cobot solution in China, featuring heavy load capabilities that make the machines ideal for automating tasks like heavy-duty material handling, heavy-part handling, and machine tending.

"This launch significantly expands the versatility of our product portfolio and gives manufacturers even more ways to improve performance, overcome labor challenges and grow their business," he said.

Cobots are essentially robots that work alongside people. Different from large industrial robots, cobots are much smaller and more easily deployed in a wide range of manufacturing industries.

Von Hollen said China is among the top five largest markets globally, and one of the fastest-growing markets.

"The key ingredients for success for any companies to invest are: stability, so you can plan and rely on them for the long term. Second is a big enough market. Third, a general environment that is open to businesses. All three ingredients are here for China," he said.

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