SoftBank-backed Chinese robot maker, JAKA, to build plant in Toyota's backyard
JAKA is one of a number of companies looking to challenge Denmark-based Universal Robots’s lead in collaborative robots, also called co-robots, which play a complementary role to the hulking machines on automated assembly lines. Other contenders include Japan’s Fanuc and Chinese startup Elite Robot. JAKA’s advantage comes from the size of its home market, as well as its track record as a Toyota supplier. The company’s mean time between failure is 80,000 hours, the equivalent of one incident every nine years or so.
JAKA now makes all of its robots in Changzhou, China, at a factory with an annual capacity of about 10,000 units. For JAKA, the Nagoya plant is not only about serving Japanese buyers. In preparation for the expansion, JAKA Robotics raised a total of 1 billion yuan ($148 million) from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Prosperity7 Ventures, a fund under Saudi Aramco.