Midea planning robot bartenders and factories with no human workers in them

Midea, the Chinese company which acquired industrial robotics and automation systems supplier Kuka, is planning to launch robot bartenders and design factories where no humans are needed. 

Neither one of the ideas is new, since most visitors to robotics industry events may have seen at least one robotic arm pouring and serving up a drink, and fully automated factories have been much discussed for some time.

However, Midea is thought to be the world’s largest appliance maker, producing a wide range of washing machines, fridge-freezers and other gadgets for the home.  Continue reading Midea planning robot bartenders and factories with no human workers in them

Toyota demonstrates ‘human service robot’ of a type that may take over a lot of homes

Toyota has been demonstrating what it calls its “Human Support Robot”, a type of robot which looks likely to take over millions of homes all over the world in the next few years.

The market for this type of so-called personal assistance robot is forecast to grow very quickly over the next few years because of advances in the technology.

According to analysts at ResearchAndMarkets.com, the personal robotics market will grow by almost 40 per cent within the next five years to a total size of $34 billion.  Continue reading Toyota demonstrates ‘human service robot’ of a type that may take over a lot of homes

Kuka to build personal assistance robot business with Midea

Midea-products
Some of the products Midea manufactures

Kuka, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial robotic arms, is planning to expand into the area of personal assistance robotics. 

This is according to an article on FT.com, which quotes Kuka chief executive Till Reuter.

Reuter told the FT that he sees potential for using Midea’s reach into the household appliances market to develop more complex, intelligent machines which can help with household tasks.  Continue reading Kuka to build personal assistance robot business with Midea

Yaskawa invests €4 million in production facility in Sweden, and partners with Midea in Asia

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Yaskawa facility in Torsås, Sweden. Picture credit: Yaskawa via Evertiq

Yaskawa is expanding its manufacturing operation in Sweden, according to a report on Evertiq.com.

One of the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturers, Yaskawa is investing a further €4 million into the plant at Torsås, Sweden.

The work will eventually expand the facility by 2,000 sq m and is expected to be completed by summer 2018.  Continue reading Yaskawa invests €4 million in production facility in Sweden, and partners with Midea in Asia

Midea expands in North America

midea usa building

Midea, which claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer of air conditioners and home appliances, has strengthened its presence in North America by opening new facilities to support what it says is “continued business growth in the region”. 

Midea’s North American locations include a customer service center, expanded corporate office spaces, and research and development facilities. This expansion further enhances Midea’s network of over 280 major product facilities and logistics centers worldwide.

Jim Tomaszewski, president of Midea America, says: “Our physical expansion in North America is a testament to the continued business growth in this important market.

“Not only will these facilities give us the resources and tools we need to meet the fast-growing demand for high-quality products for the home in the US and Canada, but they will also create more jobs in each location, which will help to boost the local economies.”  Continue reading Midea expands in North America

US gives Midea green light to buy Kuka

US approves Midea takeover of Kuka. Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay
US approves Midea takeover of Kuka. Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

Reuters

China’s Midea said it will complete its takeover of German robotics maker Kuka in the first half of January after the United States authorities gave the deal a green light.

Midea, which launched a €4.5 billion offer for Kuka in May, said Germany’s markets regulator had approved the settlement of the transaction, allowing it to control a 94.55 percent voting stake in Kuka from January onwards.

The bid for Kuka, a high-tech robotics manufacturer, sparked controversy in Germany amid fears that key technologies were falling into foreign hands at a time when China protects its own companies against foreign takeovers.  Continue reading US gives Midea green light to buy Kuka

Chinese manufacturing industry setting itself copy deadline

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Picture of Haima Mazda factory, China, by John Lloyd

China-based investment expert Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng, says Chinese manufacturers have progressed from being considered “shanzai” – copycats – to embracing the idea of becoming developers of advanced robotics and automation systems

Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer Midea’s move to acquire Kuka, the German robot maker, could be a defining moment in the evolution of China’s manufacturing sector.

China’s reliance on low-cost, labour-intensive manufacturing to power its immense economy is no longer attractive, mainly due to the rise in labour and other costs.

The world’s second-largest economy needs to seek alternative ways to grow and companies like Midea are showing the way.  Continue reading Chinese manufacturing industry setting itself copy deadline

Investing in robotics: Established companies or startups?

midea-kuka
Picture courtesy: Caixin Online

In this part of our series of articles about investing in robotics and automation, Brian Gahsman, managing partner and chief investment officer at GBSfunds, explains what type of robotics and automation enterprises his company, Gahsman Branton, is interested in investing in 


Check out realtime stock prices for companies in the robotics, automation and relating computing sectors


Robotics and Automation News: Are you mainly looking at investing in established companies or startups?

Brian Gahsman: Actually both. There is a great number of publicly traded companies in this space with established earnings and the leaders make a solid foundation of the holdings in my strategy. That being said, even these established companies began as startups in the not so distant past.

I believe that robotics and automation in itself is currently in its infancy stage so maintaining a solid blend of micro-cap, small cap, mid-cap and large cap stocks is the only way to assure my strategy as a whole rides the same wave as the technological evolution that it is based on.  Continue reading Investing in robotics: Established companies or startups?

Chinese whispers: The most populous nation on Earth wants to replace millions of human workers with industrial robots it plans to manufacture

A mechanical installation named "Long Ma" makes it way during the Long Ma performance in front of the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing
Mechanical art installation of robot dragon, Long Ma. Picture credit Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon via Diseno Art

Towards the end of last year, the nominally communist Chinese government announced that it wants China to become the world’s largest producer of industrial robots. 

In comments made in the past few months, China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have clearly stated their intention to embrace robots and the new industrial revolution brought about by internet connectivity and artificial intelligence.

In a speech to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jinping called for a “robot revolution”, saying: “Our country will be the biggest market for robots, but can our technology and manufacturing capacity cope with the competition? Not only do we need to upgrade our robots, we also need to capture markets in many places.”

And speaking at the China Association for Science and Technology conference in Beijing, Keqiang said the conference will “spur the the growth of the emerging robot industry and create the world’s largest robot market”.  Continue reading Chinese whispers: The most populous nation on Earth wants to replace millions of human workers with industrial robots it plans to manufacture

Midea to spend billions on building industrial robots after buying Kuka

kuka robots having a drink

Household appliance manufacturer Midea says it will spend 10 billion Chinese money (approximately $1.5 billion) on building new robots, according to a report in the South China Morning Post

Midea, a Chinese company which now owns 95 per cent of Germany-based industrial robot maker Kuka, will build a factory to produce 7,000 robots a year, says the report.

The announcement is said to confirm Midea’s ambition to become the leading robot maker in China. The country is estimated to have bought and installed almost 70,000 industrial robots last year.

Full story at South China Morning Post

Kuka reports record orders

kuka systems

Kuka says it has generated record levels of business across its units, with almost €900 million worth of orders placed in the second quarter of 2016. The figure represents a 28 per cent increase on the previous year’s profits. 

In it robotics division, earnings increased to €25.5 million in the past quarter, says the company in a report.

Kuka, a Germany-based company established in 1898, is one of the world’s leading industrial robot manufacturers.

In recent weeks it has been the subject of a takeover bid by Chinese company Midea, which makes electrical appliances.

Midea says it currently has more than 80 per cent of Kuka’s shares, according to Bloomberg.com, which would seem to mean that Midea now owns Kuka.

 

Large Kuka shareholder Voith sells stake to Midea

kuka

One of Kuka’s biggest shareholders has sold its stake in the robot-maker ahead of a possible takeover by Midea, the Chinese manufacturer of household appliances. 

Midea has offered to buy the whole of Kuka for $5 billion, and already owns a significant share in the German company.

Now, a large, family-owned company called Voith is to sell its share in Kuka to Midea.  Continue reading Large Kuka shareholder Voith sells stake to Midea

Kuka takeover bid welcomed by Reuter, according to Reuters

kuka till reuter
Dr Till Reuter, chief executive of Kuka

The boss of Kuka has welcomed the takeover bid by Chinese company Midea, according to the Reuters news agency. 

Dr Till Reuter, chief executive of Kuka, is said to have made the comments at a shareholders’ meeting today.

Speaking of the proposal by Midea, Dr Reuter says: “The bid, as it has been announced, can support our strategy.”   Continue reading Kuka takeover bid welcomed by Reuter, according to Reuters

Chinese bid to buy Kuka

midea kuka

Chinese company Midea, which makes consumer appliances, has launched a bid to buy all of Kuka, the industrial robot manufacturer from Germany. It already owns around 14 per cent. 

Midea floated the proposal through its affiliate, Mecca International. The deal on the table is for all shares in Kuka at €115 per share.

The decision confirms Midea’s previously stated intention to increase its shareholding in Kuka. Currently, Midea indirectly owns 13.5 percent of Kuka’s shares. In line with the applicable regulatory framework, the increase of the shareholding to more than 30 percent requires an offer for all issued shares in Kuka.  Continue reading Chinese bid to buy Kuka