Shanghai SK Automation Technology Co., which provides intelligent equipment for automotive manufacturing, last week announced an initial public offering of stock on the STAR Market. The Chinese company raised RMB 733.14 million ($105.48 million U.S.).
Although automotive manufacturing already among the top verticals using robotics, improvements in computer vision, collaborative robots, and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have led to continued growth in automation. In addition, car factories are being retooled for electric vehicles, and automakers anticipate demand for autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS). Increasing automation has also led to more hiring and some reshoring of production.
The global automotive robotics market will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.87% between 2020 and 2025, predicts Mordor Intelligence. Similarly, Research and Markets forecasts 11% CAGR between 2019 and 2024.
SK Automation supports major car makers
Among other things, SK Automation provides automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), factory simulation, and work cells using industrial robot arms. The company said its technologies can help with modular parts production, materials handling and logistics, and packing applications.
SK Automation’s systems support production of automotive chassis, engines, and other products. The company, which was founded in 2007, said its customers include BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, GM, Ford, SAIC Motor, and Nissan. It has more than 300 employees and facilities in Shanghai and said it aims to be one of the top three suppliers in China and the world.
In January 2019, the company had received equity investment from Kinzon Capital and SAIC Capital. SK Automation said its IPO was oversubscribed by more than 3,076 times, meaning that demand for shares far exceeded the total of 18.9 million shares it offered.