MEP Middle East witnessed these industrial robots at Midea’s RAC (residential air conditioner) facility in Nansha district, Guangzhou, China. The visit was part of a press trip organised by the company in collaboration with its UAE-headquartered distributor, Taqeef.
The fully automated 118,000m2 Nansha facility has a monthly average production capacity of 500,000 sets.
In a bid to go completely automatic, the factory had been systematically cutting down on the number of people who work in the manufacturing facility.
Talking about automation, Peck Zhao, senior marketing manager, overseas sales, Midea Commercial Air Conditioner (CAC), said: “Automation is a long-term strategy because we think the future will be automated. First, by automating, the labour cost can be reduced, and second, young people don’t like working in a factory. You have to invest in automation. It’s not because of the low cost itself but largely because of people’s preference. More people choose jobs in an office environment rather than factories. We’re investing for the future."
Zhao said that Midea invests around 4% of the total revenue in research and development. He says: “In the last five years, $3.8bn has been invested in research and development. The R&D department is always our richest department.”
Founded in 1968 in Guangdong, China, Midea has now established a global platform of more than 200 subsidiaries, over 60 overseas branches and 12 strategic business units, as well as being the majority shareholder of KUKA -- German manufacturer of industrial robots and solutions for factory automation.