Manufacturing News

Company wants homegrown tech for manufacturing robots

Gree chief Dong Mingzhu says trend is in favor of unmanned and automated operations

Gree Electric Appliances Inc, a leading Chinese home appliance maker is stepping up its efforts in intelligent manufacturing by using industrial robots-covered by the company's own intellectual property rights-for a variety of industrial production process.

Dong Mingzhu, president of Gree said: "The supply-side reforms mean we should create and improve technological innovative capabilities. We must stick to independent innovation."

She said: "At present, most of the robots are assembled with imported core components. But it is important that we develop our own technology and create our own brands."

Gree is focusing on intelligent manufacturing at present, with its industrial robots being applied to welding, spraying and transportation, which should greatly enhance productivity and reduce labor costs.

Dong added the trend in realizing automated and unmanned manufacturing was increasing.

She said: "We will concentrate on robots and precision machine tools in upgrading and transformation our manufacturing, as well as providing a batch of completely self-developed high-end equipment for the Made in China 2025 strategy."

Xu Lin, head of the National Development and Reform Commission's planning division, said some core technologies of the manufacturing industry could not meet the demands in an increasingly fierce market.

Xu said the manufacturing industry should improve innovation constantly, enhancing the intelligent manufacturing level.

Song Xiaogang, executive president and secretary-general of China Robot Industry Alliance, said: "From 2009 to 2015, the whole robotics industry entered a period of rapid development, with an average annual growth rate of 15 percent. In 2015, the world's industrial robot sales reached 254,000 units."

China has significantly expanded its leading position as the biggest market with a share of 27 percent of the total supply of industry robots in 2015, according to the statistics from the International Federation of Robotics.

In 2015, Gree produced 23,000 industrial robot units, accounting for 7 percent of the total sales in China. The transformation and upgrading of China's manufacturing sector contributed to the development of the Chinese robot market, Song said, adding that Gree has done good work focusing on the Chinese market.

Song said: "We should grasp the opportunity brought about by the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing sector and intelligent manufacturing to develop robot products and systems, which can be applied to various fields."

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