Hunan Tree Industrial Manufacturing (全宇工业), a startup specializing in the manufacturing of sanding robots, has bagged shy of 100 million yuan (US$13.95 million) from a Series A round of funding, backed by Delian Capital and Beijing Shunxi Venture Capital Fund Management Co.,Ltd.
Proceeds from this round will be used to bolster production capacity, iterate products and execute new business models.
The Series A round came practically a year after Tree Industrial completed a pre-Series A fundraising backed solely by Yunqi Partners. The firm secured its angel funds led by Northern Light Capital.
Founded in September 2019, the robotic firm is deeply rooted in sanding robotics, with its core members beginning to focus on the segment as early as 2012.
After three years of development, Tree Industrial has become the only firm within the sanding robot industry that is capable of solving technical issues like casting defects and mixed-model production lines.
Its sanding robots have been adopted by clients in automotive, engine, machinery, rail transport and machine tool industries. They include big names such as Weichai (潍柴), Yuchai (玉柴), CRRC (中车) and Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
A shared pain point in the sanding industry is a lack of consistency in the raw casting and rich variety of products.
Besides, the metal powder coming from sanding poses a big challenge to the stability of equipment as well as constitutes a grave health hazard.
Through continuous innovations in 3D visual algorithms, robotic body technologies and sanding tools, Tree Industrial has rolled out robots that come with sensing abilities, so as to ensure an sanding accuracy of ±0.5mm despite casting defects and camber — meaning a setting of the wheels of an automotive vehicle closer together at the bottom than at the top.
These features meet the demands of manufacturing firms for multi-variety and small-batch production.
Amid mounting environmental concerns and an industrial transition, many manufacturers are in need of more automated equipment to improve the efficiency of sanding processes.
“It’s exactly because our team has perfected the sanding robot products, that they can be used well and are easy to use, and create value for clients,” said Wu Zhenyu, founder and CEO of Tree Industrial. “Therefore, we have seen lots of repeat orders.”
China’s industrial sector has an annual output of over 50 million tons of metal casting, roughly 50% of the global total.
The poor working environment of a sanding workshop could lead to long-lasting health issues, which exacerbate the hiring difficulty and make substitution by robots an inevitable choice.
“After years of technological R&D and through fusion-based perception, Tree Industrial has addressed casting defects and tackled the worldclass problem whereby robots are not able to precisely plan their trail of motion during the sanding of large- and medium-sized castings and complex castings,” said Fan Xuesong, managing director of Delian Capital.