Chinese tech media have been set abuzz by the news that a top domestic electronic, auto and new energy corporation had placed orders for 3,000 homemade six-axis cobots — the biggest known purchase to take place in the cobot segment worldwide.
GGII, a robot- and automation-focused market intelligence provider, reported today that the manufacturer securing this mega-deal is Elite Robots (艾利特机器人), a Suzhou-headquartered firm specializing in cobot, or collaborative robot for short.
Judging by the pictures and information disclosed by the GGII report, the buyer may well be BYD (比亚迪, 002594.SZ), a Chinese EV giant that also has a presence in electronics, IoT and power battery, among other segments.
The exact amount and details of the transaction remain unknown.
“The appearance of this order tells us that the direction in which Elite [Robots] has been going is correct,” said Dr. Cao Yunan, founder and CEO of Elite. “Cobot is not a small market but a fast-growing mega-size domain.”
In recent years, cobots have become an important category, distinct in their own right, since the dexterity, enhanced safety and versatility they offer not just complement the functions of industrial robots, but also open up new application scenarios that were never seen before.
Late-mover disadvantage or advantage?
China’s cobot industry started in 2010, from a low base and as a latecomer relative to overseas counterparts, but the country has since made significant inroads in this realm, as reflected by rising penetration and customer approval.
The popularity of cobots has prompted many entrepreneurs and startups to flock to this space, with Dobot (越疆科技), JAKA (节卡机器人), Rokae (珞石机器人) and Elite Robots (艾利特机器人) being among the most outstanding participants.
“Big orders are good news for the entire industry, which signals the market for cobot is getting bigger and bigger,” said Cao, the CEO of Elite. “We believe our ecosystem partners will gain greater confidence in cobots.”
He added Elite will respond proactively to shifts in market, continue to tap new growth opportunities, and strive to improve its products.
In addition to cementing its position at home, the company has intentions to expand to overseas markets moving forward.
Currently, Elite Robots has three product lines, consisting of EC6 series, CS series and a hybrid robot. They range in size, weight, working radius, position repeatability, payload and other specs.