Tech media outlet 36kr reported today that spraying robot startup Chiehey (智绘机器人) had announced a pre-Series A round of financing worth tens of millions of yuan.
The round was led by Flyfot Ventures, with participation from its angel investor Ferry Venture Capital. Proceeds from this round will be used to increase R&D spending, bolster production and advance market expansion.
Founded in 2021, the startup specializes in robots tailored to paint spray applications.
According to the estimates of Liu Junhui, founder and CEO of Chiehey, China has more than 2 million pain sprayers, with the whole market valued to the tune of 100 billion yuan (US$14.12 billion).
Paint spray robots already are a market worth in excess of 10 billion yuan, mainly adopted in the automotive and parts industry, Liu said, adding they have a big potential in other domains as well.
Growing labor costs and an aging workforce are another major factor that underpins the growth of paint spraying robots.
Since its inception, Chiehey, based in the boomtown Wuxi of Jiangsu Province, has released an array of robots with a maximum arm length of 4,000mm.
Software-wise, the firm developed a 3D vision-assisted sensing and positioning system to execute flexible paint spray tasks.
The company looks to build its success on robotic products and automated paint spray solutions. It also operates a business model featuring shared paint spray workshops, which can be leased to meet the needs of smaller manufacturers.
Right now, Chiehey’s products are deployed to spray large-sized items like container, wind turbine and train.
This did not happen until a breakthrough in 2022, which allows Chiehey’s robotic sprayers to replace human labor and reduce costs by half.
This year, the country’s first 100m-long wind turbine production line staffed by Chiehey’s paint spray robots will become operational, the company revealed in a press release.
Chiehey now boasts three mass-produced models that cater to different use cases depending on arm lengths.
These products come with a BBR structure — reportedly the nation’s first — at the end of the robotic arm, and a lightweight, modular design. Together they bring the costs down.
“Paint spray robot integrators are not mature enough in general industrial scenarios, we hope to show our products to more integrators and build a reputation,” said Liu, the CEO. “We also are willing to help them break into the paint spray segment.”
The company reached mass production in June last year, becoming one of the few domestic suppliers of paint spray robots with stable shipment.
It closed deals in excess of 10 million yuan last year and obtained a license to certify its equipment as explosion-proof.
Chiehey counts SANY (三一重工), CRRC (中国中车), Envision (远景能源) and Sinotruk (中国重汽) among its clients.