Midea teams up with state constructor on wider use of robotics

A highlight of the tie-up is a shared commitment to wider adoption of Midea's robotic technology, obtained after its acquisition in 2016 of Kuka.

Midea Group (美的, 000333.SZ), China’s leading house appliance maker, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., Ltd on February 9 at Midea’s headquarters in southern China’s Guangdong Province.

The wide-ranging agreement marked Midea’s deeper ties with the state-owned constructor, whereby the two parties will join hands on infrastructure building, smart building, smart industrial park, photovoltaics and energy storage, Kuka robotics, healthcare automation, smart home, among other sectors.

A highlight of the tie-up is a shared commitment to wider adoption of Midea’s robotic technology, obtained after its acquisition in 2016 of Kuka, to aid infrastructure building projects undertaken by the state constructor at home and abroad.

According to a Chinese media report, the Eight Division of the state constructor had begun development and application of robotics long ago, including robots for rubber and plastic insulation board blanking, welding, autonomous measuring and plastering.

In real-life scenarios, robots are much more efficient than human workers, said the report. A rubber and plastic insulation board planking robot can figure out the angle at which it needs to cut materials into slices or strips, with an efficiency 10 times as high as a human laborer.

Welding robot can weld both sides of a waterstop ring within three minutes, considerably enhancing efficiency.

Smart plastering robot is able to plaster a layer of mortar evenly on a wall, with a maximum capacity of 300 square meters per day and a smaller rate of defects like bumps or bubbles.

The tie-up came amid China’s avowed ambitions to tap into its emerging robotic industry and turn numerous innovations from this sector into practical applications.

The “Robot+” Action Plan, a document released in January by the nation’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in partnership with other 16 ministry- and commission-level departments, stipulates that efforts need to be made to facilitate the application of construction robots to promote the growth of smart building and new building industrialization hand-in-hand.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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