Chinese robot giant China AGV education rising on

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Chinese robot giant rising on the black land! The godfather of Chinese AGV warned that the foam in the service robot industry will burst

entering a factory, we can see that researchers are testing the four legged robot. They develop the motion control of the robot by observing the gait of the dog. Although unlike the mechanical dog of Boston Dynamics, which can flip backward and even open the door by itself, this four legged robot can maintain balance in the face of sudden external force impact, It will not be pushed down, and it can also walk with a weight of 10 kg. In addition to mechanical dogs, there are also meal delivery robots with dinner plates, dinosaur egg robots for children, etc. This is the Research Institute of Xinsong robot, which is rarely exposed to the public

moving to another part of the plant, there are many R & D personnel wearing dust-free clothes, who are testing and adjusting clean robots designed specifically for the chip industry and capable of transporting wafer trays between process chambers

figure DT Jun tried to push down the robot dog, but the robot dog was quite stable and was not affected by external forces. (image source: deeptech)

figure | the mechanical dog developed by the Xinsong Research Institute can currently carry 10 kg (image source: deeptech)

in recent years, robots have attracted the attention of the public again. Robots shuttle through the warehouses of e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba. Boston Dynamics has shown its high-end technical strength to the outside, Sophia, which causes the dispute between true and false intelligence, and a variety of applications, Such as automated guided vehicle (AGV), or mobile robot, service robot, medical robot, etc

however, few companies have a wider layout than Xinsong, and now they have covered the fields of mobile, industrial, service, medical, special robots and so on. Especially in recent years, Northeast China is generally in the gloomy atmosphere at the end of the country in terms of economic, population and other indicators. Xinsong can still become a leading enterprise in the industry nationwide, and indeed become a bright spot in this black land

as for Xinsong, you should not be unfamiliar with it. The domestic robot leader has changed from a laboratory under the Shenyang Institute of automation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to an enterprise with an annual revenue of nearly 2.5 billion yuan and a net profit of more than 430 million yuan. Around 1989, Shenyang Jinbei company, a Chinese automobile factory, was in urgent need of an AGV solution for production line automation. The Shenyang Institute of automation took over this research and development task. In 1991, it created China's first AGV independently developed and implemented in the industry, allowing robots to carry materials and do automobile assembly. At that time, the important R & D personnel behind it was Wang Hongyu, the current senior vice president of Xinsong robot, He wrote down a milestone to make China's AGV technology truly come out of the laboratory. If there was no AGV maturity at that time, it might not have created the success of today's Xinsong mobile robot (AGV)

now, the application of Xinsong in global AGV extends from automobile assembly and auto parts production to electronic appliances, finance, transportation and other fields. Customers include GM, Ford, BMW, etc. this year, they won the order of Jaguar Land Rover, a British automaker

figure | AGV is the main revenue source of Xinsong. You can see all kinds of AGV in the workshop (picture source: deeptech)

retain the spirit of scientific research innovation

"at that time, I didn't expect to make AGV an industry," Wang Hongyu said with a smile in an interview with DT Jun. Although he is already a leading figure in the field of AGV in China, he can still feel his enthusiasm for scientific research during his speech, telling about the three core technologies of AGV: motor + driver, controller, and energy such as battery. He is going to attend the energy exhibition in Japan at the end of this month to see the new generation of battery technology - hydrogen energy, "At present, nickel chromium batteries are used for rapid charging of AGV. The rapid charging efficiency of lithium batteries is not so high. Hydrogen energy may also be used in AGV in the future. It is more environmentally friendly. We have to see how far people have developed."

figure wanghongyu, senior vice president of Xinsong robot (picture source: Xinsong)

there is a little story in Xinsong. Previously, an orthopedic/orthopedic robot was developed, which can help the bones of dislocated patients reset, and has obtained the production license. However, the medical system is not willing to adopt for some reasons, and the market cannot be promoted. Xinsong decided to stop this project, although the commercialization of the project is not successful, It has never affected Xinsong's investment in research and development. This spirit of doing scientific research is closely related to its birth in the academic research circle

"self research and development may not have a market for everything, but it reflects an innovative strength. Some things can form products in the process. Xinsong Research Institute is a big incubator, and service robots, cleaning robots, and medical robots are all incubated by the Institute," Wang Hongyu told DT Jun

there are about 200 people in the Research Institute. Some of them are doing basic research and development, and related technologies can do it. The other is product research and development. As market demand arises, products are made into product forms through related technologies, and then internal incubation is carried out. "If products can sell more than 10million, they will become independent business units, and then reach a scale of hundreds of millions of yuan, they will become BG (business group)." At present, industrial robots have become BG, while service and medical robots are Bu scale. In addition to the Research Institute, each product line also has its own R & D talents

figure | you can see all kinds of service robots in Xinsong Research Institute (picture source: deeptech)

figure | researchers are testing dinosaur egg robots (picture source: deeptech)

robot trend 1: intelligence

from building China's first AGV in the industry to now, Wang Hongyu looks at the trends and challenges of the robot industry in the past 30 years, "Robots have been developed for decades, and the whole principle is basically the same. The key lies in the improvement of intelligence. The development of robots will change more and more from the original pure mechanical action to the combination of plastic film or sheet sensors and artificial intelligence related technologies with intelligent tensile testing machine," he said

for example, the earliest AGV robot was electromagnetic navigation, moving along a fixed path. Later, it gradually became magnetic navigation, and then there was path change. Then it began to use laser navigation to realize "pathless navigation". At present, the most advanced development is to enter "natural environment recognition". When it enters an environment, it will know which side can go or not, or the user will give instructions such as sending water, and it will know where to stop and talk with the user

the intelligent degree of industrial robots is also getting higher and higher. In the initial stage, the robot is taught how to move step by step. After teaching, it moves along the path taught by human beings. If the steel plate deviates a little, it cannot be welded. The requirements of the traditional method are relatively strict. In addition to the design of the robot itself, people must also teach well, and the level of the instructor also affects the performance of the robot

now, after adding "machine vision" and "autonomous decision-making", human beings only need to tell the machine the approximate path, such as the starting point and the end point. It can greatly improve the processing quality through image recognition and automatic tracking, and can complete 100% or close to 100% of the work

lithium ion battery enterprises across the country, such as Xinsong robot, which produces robots, should seize the policy and market opportunities, and use dual robots to work cooperatively in multiple stations on the automatic assembly line. A robot watches the work of its peers and makes analysis and judgment at the same time. Then the robot actively decides how to cooperate to complete the work. The whole process adopts the teaching free programming system. As more and more innovative technologies such as machine vision and sensors are applied to robots, in addition to improving their intelligence, another advantage is that robots can be popularized only by making them easy for humans to use

figure | Xinsong has planned an assembly line that can produce six products. Because the production is flexible, it is called flexible production in the industry. Let robots assemble industrial robots, which can be installed in half an hour, and then enter the manual assembly process (image source: deeptech)

robot trend 2: edge computing

the development of robots is similar to AI. Talk about algorithms, computing power and application scenarios. At present, deep learning is mostly applied to face recognition and speech recognition. Can AI related technologies be used in industry, such as improving production efficiency and planning efficiency, but Wang Hongyu said that if AI technology is used in industry, the computing power must be improved, so edge computing will be an important topic in the robot field in the future

edge computing is simply a layer between cloud and device, connecting cloud and device, and has some decision-making functions at the same time. As robots become more intelligent and realize more AI functions, the ability of local controllers is not enough. Relying on the cloud, there is a problem of slow speed. In particular, the industrial environment has high requirements for real-time performance, and the monitoring and analysis of conveyor belts and production lines are not waiting, "Although the future enters the 5g era, its speed may not fully meet the industrial needs, especially in factories with a large amount of data. Therefore, the future will be a combination of cloud and edge. This kind of decision analysis at the workshop level and factory level is suitable for this edge layer," he said

therefore, we should take some of the things we used to do on the cloud to the edge computing layer, especially the complex functions, such as image recognition, force control, data analysis of various sensors, etc., especially the image recognition is based on point cloud computing, and the local controller can't load it. The robot itself is a real-time motion controlled regenerative plastic granulator, which needs energy-saving transformation system, and it accepts the instructions of the edge layer

another need for edge computing comes from the integration of multiple operating systems (OS). Such an application scenario can especially promote the complete separation of state-owned capital ownership and enterprise management rights. It is the connection of different robots within the enterprise, or the need to connect with robots in other supply chain systems, especially the trend of manufacturing towards industrial interconnection. Robots with different OS can be used inside the factory, which will involve the connection of multiple operating systems. At this time, it can be realized through the edge computing controller

Xinsong has developed an edge computing server. At present, a server can control four or five robots. Of course, this edge layer can be large or small. It can be used to connect multiple production lines or connect the whole factory in series. In addition, given that edge computing is just emerging and the architecture and standards have not yet been formed, several major manufacturers in China soon formed an edge computing industry alliance, with Xinsong as one of the governing units. The industry will jointly discuss the details of the architecture, storage and exchange standards of edge computing, but it still needs time to gradually advance

figure | the robot arm above the AGV can make the robot move and improve operation efficiency. One of the customers is overseas flash memory manufacturers (image source: deeptech)

enter the field of automatic driving

robot is actually a very complex project. For example, a robot arm has nearly 200 parts. In addition, AGV is actually like a low-speed autonomous vehicle, and many of the technologies it adopts are discussed in the field of autonomous driving, such as AGV moving towards pathless three-dimensional vision, as well as safety obstacle avoidance, battery, inductive power supply and other technologies. So,

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