AUBO is deeply engaged in the field of collaborative robots – giving robots a “Chinese heart”

have you seenRobotBubble tea?AUBO in Changzhou, Jiangsusmart RobotIn the exhibition center, one arm of the Robot picks up a teaspoon and flexibly takes out a teaspoon of tea from the tea pot; the other arm gently lifts the lid of the pot, and the tea leaves are accurately placed in the teapot… The whole set of movements is flexible and precise , fast, less than 3 minutes.

Today, cobots can do more than just make tea. From the assembly line to the preparation of a cup of coffee, from the painting of the building exterior to the gentle and soothing massage therapy… This slow but accurate “partner” has cultivated various skills.

The “versatile” robot comes from AUBO (Beijing) Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd. This enterprise, which started in the university laboratory in 2015, has always adhered to the core technology and independent control of core components. It has become not only the “pioneer” of the domestic collaborative robot industry, but also the “pioneer” of the industry.

“Running side by side” with foreign counterparts

In 2009, a collaboration called Universal Robotsrobot companyEstablished in Denmark. The news caught the attention of Wei Hongxing, a professor at Beihang University.As a professor at the School of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, he knows the domesticIndustrial robotIt started late and lagged behind foreign countries for decades. It is not easy to “overtake on a curve”. The starting time of collaborative robots at home and abroad is basically the same. Backed by the huge market of China, and we can provide more flexible and convenient services and faster response time, the development of collaborative robots can be said to usher in a period of opportunity.

Collaborative robots originated in the industrial field. Around 2000, as a supplement to industrial robots, the concept of collaborative robots was proposed to meet the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises for automation transformation. Compared with industrial robots with thick lines and a sense of power, their speed is not high, their strength is not strong, and their power is only a few hundred watts. Positioning accuracy requires high work.

After sufficient market research and careful thinking, Wei Hongxing set up an entrepreneurial team and developed the first domestic collaborative robot prototype in 2012. In January 2015, AUBO Smart was established in Beijing, with Wei Hongxing serving as the chairman.

As the “first crab-eating” enterprise in the domestic collaborative robot field, AUBO Intelligent’s development is quite dramatic. Its earliest investor, DunAn Environment, is also the company’s first customer. At that time, due to the shortage of manpower, the factories of DunAn Environment could not fully operate, and the emergence of AUBO was just in time. At the end of 2015, the i-series collaborative robots developed for the industrial field were put on the production line in batches, effectively alleviating the manpower shortage of DunAn Environment.Since then, the AUBO i series of products have been iterated and matured, and have been widely used by leading enterprises such as automobiles, hardware appliances, machining, and semiconductors.application.

In June 2021, AUBO became the first domestic collaborative robot company with global sales exceeding 10,000 units. In addition to dazzling sales, AUBO pays more attention to the R&D capabilities of enterprises. Referring to the innovation of the enterprise, Zhang Dong, vice president of AUBO Intelligence, summed it up in one sentence: “Focus on technology, adhere to the two ‘autonomous and controllable’.” At AUBO, from motion controller, servo drive, control algorithm, application program As well as process software, all core technologies are independently developed; core components such as precision harmonic reducers, servo motors, encoders, and force sensors are all made in China, driving the coordinated development of domestic robot core components. In addition, AUBO also took the lead in undertaking 2 national key R&D projects of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and presided over the formulation of 3 national standards.

At present, AUBO has launched three categories of products: one is the i-series products for industry, with loads ranging from 3kg to 20kg, which can meet the needs of industrial customers for speed, precision, safety and flexibility; the second is for retail, catering and service industries The third is a fully autonomous mobile composite robot with “hands”, “feet”, “eyes” and perception, which redefines the concept of collaborative robots and expands people’s perception of lightweight manipulators for collaborative robots. Know.

Aim for just need

Initially, AUBO’s products were concentrated in the industrial field, but industrial customers only purchased dozens or hundreds of units in a single order. Entering the consumer industry with greater demand is the advantage and expertise of collaborative robots, and it is also an inevitable choice for enterprise development.

The starting point of AUBO’s non-industrial product series comes from the “flash of inspiration” of the R&D team. In 2017, AUBO prepared a plan close to life for participating in the recording of a TV program – a robot to make tea. This whimsical model became the prototype of the coffee robot that followed. Now, coffee robots have been applied to new retail terminals, which can grind a cup of coffee in an average of one minute, and can operate 24 hours a day.

Since then, AUBO has aimed at customers with “repetitive and high-intensity” needs, and has deeply integrated with application scenarios in various industries. The product line has added C series collaborations such as dual-arm catering robots and milk tea workstations for the catering and new retail industries. robot. The successive “breaking circles” made AUBO break the industrial attributes of collaborative robots. Among them, the massage therapy robot launched in cooperation with Xiuyu Intelligent Health is a typical case.

In the field of general health, the shortage of professional massage therapists in traditional Chinese medicine and the uneven operation level have always been a problem. Xiuyu has thousands of stores across the country, and the large-scale use of technology products to ensure service quality has become a top priority. After more than a year of cooperative research and development, the Xiuyu Super V thermodynamic artificial intelligence AR robot, which will be launched in 2020, has created a precedent for the application in the field of massage therapy.

This massage physiotherapy robot can automatically generate massage trajectory, adjust intensity and control temperature according to the body shape and position through structured light vision positioning. The end of the robotic arm is equipped with a force sensor, which will not accidentally hurt people and ensure safety.

Tian Hua, Marketing Department of AUBO, told reporters that this attempt has met the needs of “thousands of people and thousands of faces”: 3D cameras can identify human body shapes, temperature sensors can identify people’s body temperature, and force sensors can control massage intensity. Develop a package of personalized services. “Compared with automated equipment, the most important leap of intelligent equipment is that it has certain perception, cognition and decision-making capabilities for operating objects, strength, temperature, environment, and positioning.” Tian Hua said.

“Collaborative robots are still in the stage of ‘running side by side’.” Zhang Dong said that mastering the core technology of independent intellectual property rights and establishing an independent and controllable supply chain ecosystem is the only way for domestic robot companies to become self-reliant.

AUBO launched the first domestic collaborative robot with 100% localized core components in 2015, filling the gap in this field in my country. After continuous optimization and upgrading of products and promotion of industrial applications, at present, the cumulative installed capacity of AUBO robots has reached more than 10,000 units, and the products have covered more than 50 countries and regions including the United States, Germany, and Japan.

Application scenarios bloom more

In AUBO’s existing product line, more and more collaborative robots can be seen with their own expertise.

In the traditional processing field, most small and medium-sized enterprises use manual loading and unloading, which has problems such as low production efficiency, high labor intensity, simple repetition and boring, and it is difficult to ensure the stability and consistency of products. At present, the “Xiaogong” collaborative robot workstation for machine tool loading and unloading developed by AUBO and its partners allows robots and operators to work side by side to meet the needs of fast switching of multi-functional scenarios.

Selective harvesting of fruits and vegetables is one of the most time-consuming, laborious and costly aspects of agricultural production. The AUBO fruit and vegetable picking robot uses visual algorithms to guide the robotic arm to complete the tasks of identification, positioning, grasping, cutting, and placing. It can pick a fruit in an average of 8 to 10 seconds, with speed and efficiency “rolling” manual labor.

From only providing “small workers” for automobiles, hardware appliances, mechanical equipment, logistics and other industries to entering the public life, launching emerging products such as catering robots, coffee robots, milk tea robots, and physiotherapy robots for consumers, AUBO’s product categories have become more and more More and more, the order level is also increasing, from dozens or hundreds of units when focusing on the industrial field to thousands of units.

According to the 2021 Robot Industry Research Report of Rui Industry, AUBO is expected to increase its production and sales volume by 100% in 2021, with sales revenue of nearly 400 million yuan.

Zhang Dong believes that the application of domestic collaborative robots in emerging industries has just begun. In the next 3 to 5 years, the market demand will reach hundreds of thousands or even millions.

Today, the core personnel of AUBO’s software and hardware are gathered in the R&D center in Beijing, and the production, integration and application of products are mainly completed in the factory located in Changzhou Science and Education City, Jiangsu. Zhang Dong told reporters, “Our core technology is independent and controllable, and the supply chain of core components is all domestic, which is more cost-effective.”

Relying on the experience of many customers’ on-site cases, AUBO has built a “AUBO Ecology” platform including mobile platforms, end tools, vision, sensors, software and other industry-leading partners. At the same time, with the collaborative robot body as the core and ecological products as the link, an innovation system of the robot industry ecology has been constructed. At present, it has gathered more than 100 domestic and foreign companies such as Mecamand, Dahuan, Hikvision, Xiangong, Youaizhihe, Stander and Cognex.

Zhang Dong said that with the diversification of application scenarios, the development speed of collaborative robots will be accelerated in an all-round way. “What we need to do now is to work towards the goal of ‘the world’s most outstanding collaborative robot enterprise’, so that collaborative robots can become people’s partners in work and companions in life.” (Economic Daily reporter Yang Xuecong)

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Published on 09/01/2022