More than 300 manufacturers with nearly 1,000 of the latest smart-manufacturing products are at the Industrial Automation and Robotics Show in Wuhan. Our reporter Chen Tong went to the show to see the newest in robotics and other technological advances.
One of the stars of this year’s show is this robot which, when it’s not welding auto parts, can play a kind of chess with you. You put a white piece on the board, and then tell the robot to take a turn. The first to get five pieces in a row, wins. And when the robot wins, it gives a little robot cheer. Except for the gearbox, all the components are designed by a domestic company.
HUANG WENXIU, DEPUTY DIRECTOR GSK CNC EQUIPMENT “The drive and power-generating systems are designed by our company. The robot can also be used in welding and moving components. It’s especially useful for the car industry in Wuhan.”
Half of the exhibitors at this year’s show in Wuhan are domestic companies. Notable foreign companies include ABB, Kuka, Fanuc and Yaskawa. Many of their designs are being manufactured locally. This one designed by Yaskawa, for example, is used in the welding of sharing bikes — Mobike. The low price of the robot helps save on the cost of human workers.
GAO XI, SALES MANAGER YASKAWA ELECTRIC CHINA “The special thing about this robot is its low price, which makes it a good replacement for manual workers. An average welder makes about 7,000 or 8,000 yuan a month, several hundred thousand a year. But the robot costs only about 150,000 or 200,000, so the manufacturer can recoup their costs quickly.”
The four-day exhibition is expecting 30,000 trade visitors. Organizers say that the choice of holding an off-site exhibition in Wuhan is aimed at taking advantage of the potential for industrial development in Central China. Although development in the region has not been as rapid as in the east, the implementation of policies to build up Central China means the manufacturing industry in the region has become a huge market for robotic traders.
WANG TING, PR & PROTOCOL DIRECTOR HANNOVER MILANO FAIRS SHANGHAI “We look for very good potential for this place. We see there are a lot of industrial companies in Wuhan. They are aiming to upgrade their traditional manufacturing to smart manufacturing. That’s our important goal to have an industrial event here.”
CHEN TONG WUHAN, HUBEI PROVINCE “China’s plan to boost the economic development of Central China calls for manufacturing and high-end technology sectors in the region to grow significantly by 2025. And Wuhan, as one of the largest cities in Central China, is expected to lead that growth.”