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Thriving industry shows China's innovation strength

Updated: 2023-08-25


Visitors check out an intelligent assembly line for new energy cells at the WRC 2023 in Beijing on Aug 17. CHEN XIAOGEN/FOR CHINA DAILY

BEIJING — At the World Robot Conference 2023 held in Beijing from Aug 16-22, four large red robotic arms, featuring flexible wrists and high-torque design, captivatingly demonstrated their industrial precision by welding a car in the exhibition hall, mirroring factory-like efficiency.

"We started developing this robot in 2012. After upgrading, its repeated positioning accuracy reached between plus 0.2 millimeters and minus 0.2 mm. About 100 such robots have been deployed in the automobile industry across China," said Ma Cheng, industry manager of Siasun Robot and Automation Co Ltd, based in Shenyang in Northeast China's Liaoning province.

The seven-day conference attracted some 160 robot enterprises from around the world. The participating firms showcased nearly 600 robot sets, according to the WRC organizer.

The robots cover several fields, including agriculture, manufacturing, logistics and healthcare. In the healthcare sector, the applications of robots in surgery, sampling and telemedicine were demonstrated during the conference.

The upper limb rehabilitation training system, developed by Estun Medical, showed how the robots equipped with an intelligent arm and screen can assist patients in recovery from neurological or orthopedic conditions.

"The system can improve upper limb strength and help the recovery of nerve pathways. It has already been used in many rehabilitation centers and nursing homes in Beijing and Nanjing, Jiangsu province," said Xu Yuanyuan, an exhibitor representing Estun Medical.

The conference also featured agricultural robots, used for various tasks such as sowing, weeding, irrigating and harvesting, as well as robots designed for emergencies and extreme weather conditions.

China's robot industry maintained steady expansion in the first half of the year. The output of industrial robots reached 222,000 units, an increase of 5.4 percent year-on-year, while the production of service robots amounted to 3.53 million units, up 9.6 percent from a year ago, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Wang Yaonan, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that the R&D, manufacturing and application of robots represent the strength of sci-tech innovation and high-end manufacturing of a country. The thriving robot industry is changing people's lifestyles and injecting new vitality into economic and social development, Wang added.

The 2023 report on China's robot technology and industrial development was released during the conference. According to the report, the in-depth application of robots in fields such as new energy vehicles, medical operations and powerline inspections can support digital transformation and intelligent upgrading.

Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said that driven by technology and the market, China's robotics industry has continued to expand, with the coordinated development of enterprises in fields like manufacturing and sci-tech.

Industrial robots cover 65 major industries in China, playing an important role in major projects such as manned space flights and lunar exploration, Xin added.

It is necessary to pool resources of industry and academia, jointly undertake pivotal research and make concerted efforts in R&D to propel industrial development, said Chen Ying, secretary-general of the Chinese Institute of Electronics.