Kuka China announced yesterday that its new smart manufacturing hub was completed and began operation on May 30 in Foshan of southern China’s Guangdong Province.
The Midea-Kuka Tech Park, covering 433 mu, or 28.86 hectares, of land, is located in Shunde District of Foshan, a boomtown and home to Midea, one of China’s largest home appliance groups and Kuka’s parent.
Midea bought the German firm — one of the “Big Four” industrial robot and automation providers — in 2016 and began to deploy intelligent solutions in manufacturing.
The park’s completion was celebrated amid much fanfare, as dozens of local politicians and representatives from Kuka China and Midea attended the opening ceremony on May 30.
The two companies broke ground on the first phase of the manufacturing powerhouse in 2018, which became operational the following year, with a floor surface of 50,000 sqm.
The second phase of the project got underway in 2021 and cost 800 million yuan (US$112 million) to build. When completed, it accommodated six factory buildings sitting on some 200,000 sqm of land.
Currently, the park houses some 1,000 employees, over 50% of them technical staff. As of April this year, it had churned out and delivered more than 57,000 industrial robots, totaling nearly 10 billion yuan in revenue.
A bird’s eye view of Kuka China’s Shunde new manufacturing base. Photo courtesy of Kuka China
At the ceremony held to mark the start of the park’s operation, Xu Guiyou, general manager of Kuka China, hailed this occasion as “yet another important milestone” in the development of Kuka.
“As the park began production at full throttle, we plan to build 80,000 to 100,000 robots every year in the future,” said Xu. “This will set the stage for localized supply of robots and support a pivot of manufacturing toward automation, intelligence and digitization.”
Aside from rolling out robots to satisfy Kuka’s own needs, the newly opened plant will also attract upstream suppliers to move in.
This is to complement the industrial chain, build a robotic agglomeration and spur the robotic industry, Kuka China said in a corporate statement.
To date, nine upstream and downstream businesses have settled in the park, spanning the production of various core robotic components.
Their presence is expected to meet 85% of the supply chain needs originating within the park.
Shunde, a bustling area of Foshan, is gaining momentum nationwide in recent years as a robotic cluster, thanks to its solid industrial foundation and a well-established ecosystem.
Xu of Kuka China credited the Midea-Kuka park in his speech, saying his employer will leverage it to continue improving R&D and applications in robotics and consolidating its leadership position.