(Yicai Global) Nov. 8 -- The pavilion for intelligent and high-end equipment at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, where some of the biggest, most expensive exhibits go on show, has proved a hit with attendees.
German robot maker Kuka had a robotic arm on display at the event, which was built using an automated assembly line. Manufacturers can even print customized text on the base of the arm.
"Products on display at Kuka's stand are more than machinery equipment," its China Chief Executive Wang Jiangbing told Yicai Global. "They are the future trends of industrial development."
Kuka's display was a mini version of a smart factory, he said, adding that it reflects the process of integrating big data into the production process. There were more than 10 robots on show, able to do things like select fonts, retrieve materials from warehouses and printing.
Another German brand, Jungheinrich, had several kinds of forklifts at its exhibit. Despite their size, the equipment was quick and nimble while picking up objects. Three of the firm's products were going on display in Asia for the first time, including a lithium battery forklift, China General Manager Bai Daping said.
Waldrich Coburg, also German, had a 20 meter long, 10 meter wide gantry milling machine named Taurus on show, weighing in at nearly 200 tons. The tool was the largest exhibit at the CIIE and was on display outside of Europe for the first time.
Walrich Coburg is one of the largest high-precision heavy machine makers in the world. Its equipment can machine to the precision of 4 microns [human hair is generally 40 to 90 microns in diameter] and is three times as efficient as traditional machine tools.
Reinvigorating China's Manufacturing Sector
Unlike at past expos, these companies are not just looking to pick up new orders.
"The key aim is to demonstrate smart factories to more customers and decision makers… so they can be at the forefront of technology applications," said Wang, adding that Kuka has already completed the expansion of its Shanghai factory and doubled its output.
Kuka and its largest shareholder, Chinese appliance maker Midea Group, are now building a factory in Guangdong province, which they expect to complete by the end of this year and begin production early 2019, he added, saying the new plant will focus on goods targeted to the Chinese market.
Bai said Jungheinrich is looking to exchange ideas with Chinese manufacturing colleagues. The country's industry as transforming to smart production and the value system of products and services needs reshaping, he added.
"Sustainable innovation and vitality in China's manufacturing sector are not possible without changing the competition on price."