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Chinas Manufacturing Units Swept by Robot Revolution

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Published on : Sep 28, 2015

The use of robots is exponentially increasing across the manufacturing facilities of China. For decades, leading manufacturers in China employed thousands of young migrant workers hailing from China’s countryside to work as manual labors in countless factories located across coastal provinces producing cheap clothing, toys, and electronics. They played an indispensable role in propelling the economy’s ascent in the global landscape. 

However, these manual labors are now being rapidly replaced by technology, a pivot impelled by rising wages and the introduction of new official directives aimed to fuel the country’s paradigm shift from low-cost manufacturing to technology upgraded production facilities. 

With soaring costs and shrinking profits, Chinese manufacturers must understand the importance of transitioning from labor-intensive module to more automated and capital-intensive alternative that will help China’s manufacturing landscape to survive through the near future, as told by Jan Zhang, an expert on automation at Shanghai’s IHS Technology. 

Shenzhen Rapoo Technology Co is one of the companies to have reached ground zero of this transition. The company has already introduced orange robot arms in its factory that is working alongside human operators in assembling computer keyboards and mice. Against the backdrop of the latest developments introduced in the manufacturing sector of China, Pboll Deng, the Deputy General Manager of Rapoo said that, the efforts of leaders in  manufacturing in the country is set to usher revolution. 

The company began pushing automation in its facility five years ago. Rapoo has installed over 80 robots in its unit produced by the Sweden-based ABB Ltd. These robots will help in the assembling of keyboards, mice, and their sub-components. With the installation of these robots, the company saved approximately US$1.6 mn each year, and trim its workforce by almost 2,000 since 2010. 

Such developments highlights the plans of the country’s leaders for industrial robots. To encourage industrial automation, the authorities have also announced that they are going to offer tax incentives and subsidies.