19 December 2018
A KUKA robot plays table tennis against German professional player Timo Boll. Photo: KUKA
A KUKA robot plays table tennis against German professional player Timo Boll. Photo: KUKA

Why China’s blue-collar workers should be worried

Take a look at the one of KUKA’s latest videos promoting its small robot series and you will be amazed at how good they have become.

The machine highlights its two killer features — extreme speed and high precision.

Its compact size also fits in well with small and medium-sized factories, promising “maximum performance with minimum space”.

In another video, a KUKA robot challenges German professional table player Timo Boll, fully demonstrating how nimble and versatile it is.

Few would doubt their capability to beat human flesh and bone on the production lines and they work 24 hours a day, too.

Someone predicts one day most factories in China will become peopleless, or so-called lights-out manufacturing will become the norm.

That day may seem far away but Chinese workers will be shaking in their boots if they see these video clips.

And robots are getting more affordable, better and smarter by the day.

Earlier, the German robot maker agreed to join hands with mainland telecommunications equipment giant Huawei in the research and development of cloud computing, big data, mobile technology, smart robots and human robot collaboration.

Robots are in fact widely used in chips and in the auto industry, as well as in electronics, pharmaceuticals and food processing.

Meanwhile, cloud computing is being fused with robotics technology to enhance the control and collection of real-time production data, which will further increase productivity.

In the future, factories will still need human workers but it will be mostly for more sophisticated tasks such as monitoring and maintenance.

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EJ Insight writer

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