Robot unicorn Flexiv teams up with electronics titan F&D, to slash costs

Cost reduction has been a goal high on the agenda of domestic robot manufacturers, many of whom count on supply chain expertise to lower production costs and bolster competitiveness.

Flexiv (非夕机器人), a Shanghai-based general-purpose robot developer, recently signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with consumer electronics maker F&D (奋达科技, 002681.SZ), to leverage their complementary advantages in supply chain and automation technologies.

Shenzhen-headquartered F&D said in an exchange filing that it will leverage its manufacturing and supply chain management strengths to help Flexiv achieve cost reduction, among other targets.

F&D specializes in the production of home appliances, e-locks, wearable devices and electroacoustic products.

Cost reductions

For its part, Flexiv looks to contract the manufacturing of its robotic arms, accessories, workstations and components to F&D.

Cost reduction has been a goal high on the agenda of domestic robot manufacturers, many of whom count on supply chain expertise to lower production costs and bolster competitiveness.

Flexiv started in 2016 under Wang Shiquan, a Stanford alumnus, with a vision to develop what it calls bionic, adaptive robotics products and innovative AI solutions.

The company will then supply them to various industrial clients to reduce human labor, automate work, and boost efficiency.

Unicorn status

To date, Flexiv’s product lines, comprising seven-axis robotic arms and a parallel robot, combine industry-grade force control, computer vision and AI technologies.

They are mainly deployed to sectors ranging from industry, automaking and 3C to new energy, aviation and home appliance, involved in precision assembling and complex surface processing.

For instance, grinding wheels placed at the tip of Flexiv’s robotic arms can be used for sanding and polishing vehicle frames at a car factory.

Applications also have extended to food and healthcare segments.

The startup bagged close to US$100 million in June 2022 from a Series B+ financing round at a post-money valuation of US$1 billion, making it a unicorn.

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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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