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Mech-Mind and KUKA Eye Robotic Riches, Despite Industry Development Bottlenecks
COVID-19 and China
Kuka labeled box. Image credit: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

During CeMAT ASIA 2019, a world-leading trade fair for intralogistics and supply chain management, Chinese industrial robotics startup Mech-Mind (梅卡曼德) signed a strategic cooperation agreement with KUKA, an established player in the world robotics industry.

The two will together leverage their respective resources in terms of channels and technologies, in order to further deepen their cooperation and promote the further integration of robotics into traditional industries, such as logistics.

Industrial robots can not only free workers from tedious and repetitive labor, they also enable the manufacturing end to produce more large-scale and more precise equipment. They can help to improve production efficiency, reduce labor costs and relieve the difficulties face by people working in dangerous environments.

KUKA is well-known for offering manufacturing automation solutions for auto, logistics and other sectors, as well as automating production lines for the first time in a given market.

In the first half of 2019, the Chinese robotics market reached a value of USD 4.25 billion, accounting for 30% of the global market, according to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Large entities like KUKA are not the only names on people's lips. Companies such as ABB, Xinsong and Yaskawa are also vying for market share. To this end, in the context of the shrinking global auto market and severe competition in the industrial system integration industry, KUKA is set to turn its attention to new areas. In 2015, in order to better manage the automation solution business of non-industrial application scenarios such as medical, warehousing, logistics, etc., KUKA separated this part of the business and let its subsidiary Swisslog manage it.

Mech-Mind was founded in 2016 and has completed five rounds of financing up to now, with investors including Intel Capital. It offers complete and cost-effective solutions for activities like depalletizing, random bin-picking and machine-tending for customers in logistics and manufacturing, empowered by advanced technologies like deep learning, 3D vision and motion planning.

The company's core products are robotics solutions for vision-guided depalletizing, machine tending, order picking, assembly, locating and gluing. Its complete solution package enables robot manufacturers and integrators to quickly upgrade their artificial intelligence capabilities to perform applications in multiple areas.

In these scenarios, the key to enabling robots to truly succeed is advanced technology. However, as the world's largest industrial robot market, China is still in a state of low-end surplus from local brands and insufficient supply of high-end products. The upstream core components are what determine the overall performance of the robot. Improving the localization of core components will be key to speeding up the development of robots in China.

Editor: Luke Sheehan
ANALYST
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