ELITE Chairman Cao Yunan: These 40-Year-Old “Boys” Will Tell You That Passion + Technology Can Open Up A Whole New World of Possibilities

      “Four years ago, a few of us were shirtless debugging in the factory during the summer. The debugging would take us a whole night to complete, but that is what being an entrepreneur is like! In the process of entrepreneurship, there will be some obstacles that are seemingly difficult for others: no money, no manpower, harsh environment, no resources, etc. But for an entrepreneur, passion is the most important thing. With passion, you will find that it is actually not so difficult. You are just feeling and experiencing the whole process of entrepreneurship. ” This is a statement from Cao Yunan, chairman of Beijing ELITE Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as” ELITE “). Over the years, he has worked hard to inject this passion into the entire process of entrepreneurship. He has witnessed the growth of ELITE together with other partners and recorded every brilliant moment.

        The introduction of “the first batch of top 100 demonstration robot system integrators”. In this China Robot Summit, let us talk to Cao Yunan, walk into ELITE, and listen to the voices in their heart. 

Every Round of Financing Is an Advancement

       “With each round of financing, ELITE has a very clear purpose of using the acquired funds. Financing is not the purpose of innovative enterprises, but a tool to assist innovative companies to achieve rapid development.” Cao Yunan said. ELITE has conducted two rounds of financing. The first time was in June 2016, where ELITE’s startup phase received 20 million financing. At this stage, ELITE used funds from the perspective of robot core component suppliers to complete product iteration and mass production. The second time was the 50 million Series A financing in August 2017. At this stage, in addition to expanding the control system product line (launching the entire product line of robot drive and control), ELITE also initiated the R & D and prototype building of the collaborative robot system. Fortunately, the collaborative robot independently developed by ELITE will be mass-produced in July 2018 and officially released for sale.

         “I have made a report called The Evolution of Robots from the Cerebellum to the Brain. The current problems that robots solve are mainly to complete human actions accurately and at high speed, and to complete some industrial site processes and complex operations, such as welding, palletizing, loading and unloading, etc. These can be regarded as the cerebellum functions of the robot. In the future, the explosive power of the robot will come from the realization of the brain function.” When talking about development direction for the future, Cao Yunan indicated that the 50 million ELITE raised in Series A financing will not only be used in the improvement of the control system product line and the research and development of collaborative robots, but also research and development of machine AI, including the implementation of a series of machine vision products. According to source, ELITE will start a new round of financing this year. This financing will be devoted to the research and development of intelligent collaborative robot arms and improve the entire robot product matrix from industrial robots, collaborative robots to intelligent collaborative lightweight robot arms to form mass production capacity and release them for sale in sequence. 

        Each round of financing is an opportunity growth for ELITE and gradual advancement towards intelligence. Cao Yunan emphasized: “Although ELITE’s products have been migrating, our main line has not changed, that is, robot control technology. ELITE firmly believes that out of the four core components, the most directional, more explosive, comes from control. The controller is the soul of the robot. “

Excellent Outcome, Three Advantages of The Powerful Control System 

        In many aspects, ELITE has its own unique understanding. Cao Yunan said: “ELITE has a different understanding and approach to collaborative robots. From ELITE’s perspective, collaborative robots emphasize human-robot collaboration and integration. The high intelligence, the ease of use, as well as the multi-sensor fusion are the factors that allow robots to truly realize their collaborative characteristics. “

        ELITE is known for its autonomous control system. ELITE has three major advantages in terms of control system. The first advantage is the ease of use of the control system. In this regard, ELITE has been continuously iterating on and evaluating the product. Considering the operating habits and ease of use of operators (clients), ELITE has done a lot of work in order to provide clients with better products. The second advantage is the completeness of the process library. The continuous improvement of a series of processes such as welding, palletizing, spraying, loading and unloading, and 3C assembly is a major advantage of ELITE. Cao Yunan explained: “We have been working together in this area since our student years in 2003. It has been 15 years since then. During these 15 years, we have made breakthroughs in technologies such as numerical control and robot control, and we continued to cooperate with industry to accumulate experience when it comes to on-site processes. As a start-up company, these are our advantages. ” The third advantage is that ELITE’s control system is a collaborative or intelligent control system. ELITE’s controller integrates core capabilities such as multi-sensor fusion, vision, force control, deep learning, and transfer learning.

       For fifteen years, ELITE has stayed loyal to the development of control systems, and its high-quality products have won a good reputation in the industry. On top of the control system, ELITE has also launched a very good system integration solution in improving the intelligent production of the factory and gained a successful promotion experience. Among them, the “3C industry instrument assembly test intelligent production line” project launched by the company especially has great demonstration and promotion value. The project had a strong role in promoting the intelligent upgrading of the manufacturing industry and attracted lots of attention.

        This project was the first attempt to apply a six-axis robotic arm to the process of instrument assembly and screwing. The ERC-G200 high-performance control system independently developed by ELITE is used to enable the robot to achieve high-speed and precise movements, ensuring the consistency of the quality of the assembled products. The ELVISION intelligent vision system independently developed by ELITE is used to achieve various proofing and quality inspections during the assembly process. At the same time, an upper-level data acquisition system was developed and used to record the entire data from the assembly and testing links in real time, to achieve correspondence between products and data, as well as product traceability. The assembly and transfer process in the production line is realized by the robotic arm. The user can achieve multiple functions and maximize the value of the production line just by changing the positioning and testing fixtures, and the robot instructions.

         After this intelligent production line was put into use, the labor cost was reduced by 50%, and the production efficiency was increased by 100%. The one-time pass rate of the product was more than 99.8%, and 0 defective products flowed out. The line greatly improved the energy utilization rate, raised the level of intelligent manufacturing of the enterprise, improved product quality, promoted safe production, and achieved green development of the manufacturing industry.

Down To Earth But Innovative, Creating an Open and Inclusive Brand

        “All of our five core founders are students of BUAA Robotics Institute, and they are all masters and doctors passed on by Professor Wang Tianmiao.” When talking about his studies, Cao Yunan lamented: “I have two mentors, the first is Professor Zhang Qixian, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in National Robotics. Unfortunately, during the first year of my PhD study, Professor Zhang passed away unfortunately. At the same time, I met Professor Wang Tianmiao, who became my second mentor in my academic career, and helped adjust my future development direction. After that, I threw myself into research and development work focusing on robot control. “

       Cao Yunan further expressed, “Professor Wang Tianmiao has provided us with a lot of guidance and assistance in the interpretation of ELITE’s product direction, company’s operating decisions and the trend of the entire robot industry. He has also cultivated a number of unicorn-level enterprises “.

        Many years later, they came along with technology and founded ELITE. “We are a group of entrepreneurs that are heading into our 40s, but we are still full of passion. “Down to earth” is the first quality when it comes to our understanding of products.” When talking about his entrepreneurial experiences, Cao Yunan said that, in 2003, his team and Guangzhou NC have already cooperated. Starting with the development of a lathe CNC system 9800TD, they continued to conduct experimental docking at industrial sites. The developed CNC system came to be very popular, with sales of up to 100,000 units per year in the future. This thorough understanding of the industrial site has become one of their precious assets in the future.

       “ELITE is an open platform that must integrate local and foreign elements. We will continue to absorb talents of robot-related industries at home and abroad. Recently we have introduced two very important puzzle-type strategic partners, one of which is a partnership is Dr. Sean Lee from Columbia University, who is quite accomplished in AI and visual applications, and has provided the building blocks for ELITE’s machine intelligence. “Cao Yunan said,” Another partner is Luo Zhaohui, who created the miracle of robot sales of 2000 units in just 2017. With sound knowledge of ELITE’s full-line robot product matrix and the company’s future product line layout, I believe that he can make ELITE’s products not only serve domestic enterprises, but also on higher platforms around the world. ” ELITE has a complete team of partners and are actively leading the company, performing their respective roles and complementing each other’s advantages to create a new open brand that belongs to the robotics industry!

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