Stial (斯帝尔), a sanding robot maker, has secured a pre-Series A+ round of funding for an undisclosed sum, backed by the actual controller of a listed company on China’s Class-A Share stock market, Chinese media reported today.
Tang Kaijian of Anhui Xinbo Aluminum Co., Ltd, a domestic aluminum provider, led the investment into Stial, which is headquartered in Wuxi of eastern China’s Jiangsu Province.
Proceeds from this round will go toward R&D development, productivity expansion and marketing efforts.
Dedicated to building AI-driven flexible sanding robots, Stial’s technologies comprise an AI-enabled cognitive system, AI-powered neural system, the proprietary design of robotic bodies and grinding-related industrial know-how.
Among them, the neural system enables the robot to possess four senses — force, tactile, visual and auditory.
Specifically, the system can imitate a human grinder’s multiple senses in performing sanding and polishing tasks.
To date, Stial has served clients from home and abroad for more than 10 years, achieving mass sanding of products tailored to distinct use cases. The company has R&D, sales and business offices in Hong Kong, Canada, Italy and Germany.
In keeping with recent hype over embodied AI, Stial’s full-stack hardware and software innovations take on humanlike features and are designed to interact like real human beings.
Its NextBrain™ AI cloud system integrates a suite of AI cognitive and sensory platforms, smart path planning algorithms and self-generated processes.
These technologies allow Stial’s robotic workstations to analyze the forms and textures of products to be polished, figure out the processes, and devise an optimal path — all through reinforced self-learning.
This proves essential to many factories, as it can automate and refine the often tedious and dreary metal-polishing work along production lines.
Applications in NEV, aerospace
One of Stial’s main applications is in new energy vehicle industry. Most notably, the startup is a supplier of Tesla, helping to grind and debur auto parts for the EV giant.
Besides, the firm also has delved deep into the aerospace sector. Its robotic workstations are deployed to airplane, rocket and missile producers to conduct sanding operations.
Following the latest fundraiser, Stial plans to double down on its presence in the NEV space while also moving down the value chain to venture into consumer-facing markets for a bigger market share.
The firm didn’t disclose how it plans to go about achieving this target, though.
In terms of business model, Stial also has something innovative to offer industrial peers.
Instead of relying on sales only, it leases out its robotic workstations to clients under what it calls a processing-as-a-service (PaaS) model.
With a commitment to establish shared grinding workshops, Stial has deviated from traditional vendors in its way of service delivery.
As a result, more and more customers, especially those underserved because of a tight budget, will have access to leading robotic sanding technologies, Stial said in a press release.