Robotic gear maker Tongchuan snags Series A, banking on industry growth

Worldwide, the market for harmonic reducers is dominated by Japanese firms like Nabtesco, Harmonic Drive, Shimpo, Sumimoto and others. Leaderdrive is the only major Chinese supplier with the world's second-largest shipment.

Tongchuan Technology (同川科技), a Chinese manufacturer of harmonic reducer, a key robotic part, recently secured tens of millions of yuan from a Serie A funding round.

The round was led by Seekdource Capital and the proceeds will be used to help the company scale the productivity of its harmonic reducers, develop new products and promote market expansion.

Notably, the fundraiser is the startup’s first investment from external shareholders since its inception in 2012.

Headquartered in Shenzhen, Tongchuan specializes in the production of core robotic components, in particular harmonic reducer, and aims to provide the robotic industry with precision transmission gear that are safe, reliable, modular and light.

Tongchuan’s main products consist of harmonic reducer, all-in-one actuator, and joint modules for cobots and humanoid robots.

Tongchuan launched with a mission to break the monopoly of overseas brands in robotic parts like harmonic and RV reducers.

Worldwide, the market for harmonic reducers is dominated by Japanese firms like Nabtesco, Harmonic Drive, Shimpo, Sumimoto and others. Leaderdrive (绿的谐波, 688017.SH) is the only major Chinese supplier with the world’s second-largest shipment.

An era of mass adoption begins… in China

Shen Xiaolong, founder and CEO of Tongchuan, once predicted that the adoption of robots en masse will first happen in China.

Led by a group of engineers under his stewardship, Tongchuan came up with innovations that it says prolong the reducer’s life cycle, bolster its precision, and reduce the vibration and noise, among other benefits.

All photos courtesy of Tongchuan Technology

Tongchuan claims the performance of its products now ranks among the best in the world.

Meanwhile, the startup has made a step further, providing harmonic reducers to clients with backgrounds ranging from industrial robot, aerospace, machine tool, new energy equipment, NC rotary table, semiconductor and medical device.

While engaging in the R&D of harmonic reducer, Tongchuan also met client needs by combining reducer, motor, controllers and encoder. The product is an all-in-one actuator featuring high precision, rigidity and torque as well as a compact size.

This invention caters to scenarios requiring a big payload and high precision in a tight operational space. Tongchuan says it is a substitute for direct driver motor, hollow rotary table, cam indexer, servo motor and planetary reducer.

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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, 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

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