Harmonic Gear Drive Maker Laifual Drive Secures Series C
As one of the most important and complex components of robots, the Chinese harmonic gear drive makers are expected to be more competitive in the future.
Laifual Drive (来福谐波) is a Chinese harmonic gear drive manufacturer and robot reducer supplier, engaged in the research, design and production of precise harmonic gear drive devices. On November 15, Laifual completed its Series C round of financing, raising nearly CNY 100 million to bankroll the R&D team. Since its establishment in 2013, it has completed four rounds of funding.
Harmonic gear drives constitute a very common component implemented in robotics and CNCs today. They are used in aerospace as well – for gear reduction – but may also be used to increase rotational speed, or for differential gearing.
The structure of a gear drive contains a flex spline, wave generator and circular spline. The main advantages of a harmonic gear drive include no backlash, high compactness and lightweight, high gear ratios, reconfigurable ratios within a standard housing, good resolution and excellent repeatability (linear representation) when repositioning inertial loads and a high torque capability.
In the first half of 2019, Laifual completed its first phase of expansion, achieving a monthly production capacity of 20,000 sets. At the same time, it achieved nearly 50% of shipment growth; turnover doubled compared with the previous year. Next, Raffles Harmony plans to continue to expand its domestic customers while further expanding its efforts to foray into the international market.
According to IFR, in 2018, global robot installations increased by 6% to 422,271 units, worth USD 16.5 billion (without software and peripherals). The operational stock of robots was computed at 2,439,543 units (+15%). As a key component of robots, the harmonic gear drive is expected to usher an era of growth.
In fact, the development and manufacture of harmonic gear drive is typical high-precision manufacturing work. The accuracy and structural design of the parts will affect the maximum speed and ultimate load of the reducer and the accuracy is highly dependent on the quality of the production equipment. Generally speaking, adding a production line that meets the requirements requires tens of millions of basic investment, and the procurement lead time of imported equipment is generally more than 10 months, and the longest is 15 months. It is reported that the investment in Laifual equipment has exceeded CNY 100 million, and strive to achieve economies of scale in a short period of time, providing cost-effective products for the robot industry.