The 2nd VDMA Industry Conference Successfully Concluded in Shanghai

Author photo: Dora Zhu
ByDora Zhu
Technology Trends

On 4 June, the 2nd VDMA Industry Future Fit Conference, organized by German Mechanical Engineering Commercial Services Shanghai Branch office (GMECS Shanghai), was successfully held in Zizhu HiTech Park. The theme of Conference is "The Impact of AI in Production", with more than 400 participants.

VDMA Industry Conference

VDMA is composed of 35 industry associations with more than 3,600 member enterprises. The Zizhu HiTech Park, where the conference was held, is positioned as a global strategic emerging and high-end industry, attracting many R&D headquarters of multinational companies and high-end intelligent manufacturing enterprises.

Mr. Mingde Shi, former Chinese Ambassador to Germany and President of the China-Germany Friendship Association, and Mr. Lukas Meyer, Deputy Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Shanghai, delivered excellent speeches. In addition to this, companies, such as Microsoft, Siemens and ESTUN, were also present at the event to discuss with industry experts the impact of AI on the manufacturing industry and the changes it will bring.

Judging by the attendance alone, the event was not a simple industry conference. Mr. Lukas Meyer explained the sticky business relationship between China and Germany and that despite some challenges, "co-operation" is still the "main theme" of the relationship between China and Germany. Mr. Mingde Shi emphasized that Germany is an important partner of China and shared the latest developments in Sino-German political and economic relations. As such, the conference is a way for China and Germany to set the tone and take a stand on their co-operative relationship, to allay the concerns of Chinese and German companies, and to work together in pursuit of economic development.

AI, manufacturing, software

The whole event was centered around "AI+Manufacturing":

Dr Lucas Bretz, General Manager of KIT/GAMI, shared the actual cases of enterprises reducing cost and increasing efficiency through AI and discussed the feasibility and necessity of "AI+Manufacturing".

Mr. Han Gu, GPS East GM, Microsoft China, elaborated on Microsoft's capabilities and products in the field of artificial intelligence, especially how a series of Microsoft products can empower the manufacturing industry and create value, and looked forward to the prospect of AI helping enterprises to improve production efficiency and quality.

Dr. Vincent Guo, Senior Director of Business Development, Digital Manufacturing Segment, Siemens Digital Industries Software, shared the role of AI technology in Siemens manufacturing, explained the meaning of "Software Defined Engineering Design - Non-Standard Automation Equipment", and analyzed the application of AI in the field of engineering design from the perspective of software.

Mr. Florian Weihard, CTO, ruhlamat Automation Technologies (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., discussed the important role of "AI+Software" in industrial automation, shared how to realize the design of factory automation through software-defined engineering, and demonstrated the effect through real cases.

Mr. Shiqi Li, Senior Architecture Manager, Intel (China) Co., Ltd, introduced how industrial automation systems can be upgraded and optimized through software definition, emphasizing that software-defined industrial automation systems will be an important trend in the future of manufacturing.

Dr. Ethan Zhang, Technical VP of ESTUN Automation Group, deeply analyzed the role of AI big model in promoting the fourth industrial revolution and the development of "AI+Robotics", and shared Exton's research results and application practice in AI big model.

In the roundtable session, participants also discussed the challenges and opportunities of "AI+Manufacturing".

Some Interesting Findings

This year, there were a few businesses that caught my attention.

ESTUN Automation Group

The first company is ESTUN Automation Group. Experts who know the field of industrial robotics will certainly be familiar with this name. Established in 1993, ESTUN's core business is robots, intelligent manufacturing systems, motion control-related components, etc. Its sales revenue in 2023 exceeds $660 million. ESTUN's advantage is that it owns the independent technology and complete industrial chain of industrial robots.

Dr. Ethan Zhang, Technical VP of ESTUN, discussed in detail the changes brought by AI to the robotics industry as well as ESTUN's investment and latest progress in AI. He said that Large Models (LM) will drive the implementation of intelligent robots, especially in the application of "human-machine interaction and semi-open" scenarios.

To this day, ESTUN has integrated AI into intelligent manufacturing systems, robot perception and welding digitalization system. Taking welding system as an example, AI Instant Robot Programming System IRPS can achieve autonomous welding and increase welding efficiency by 60%, which is widely used in shipbuilding, automotive and other fields. It is reported that ESTUN's next step will be to combine AI with industrial robots to empower the manufacturing industry.


The second company is PowerArena, which has launched the HOP (Human Operation Platform) based on machine vision technology. Most companies commonly use machine vision technology for quality inspection and maintenance of products or production tools. However, PowerArena has taken a different approach by capturing the behavior of production line personnel through industrial cameras, using AI technology to identify the movements of production personnel, operation steps, placement of items, etc., and analyzing the causes of inefficiency to help the company optimize the behavior of production personnel so as to improve the efficiency of the production line. Based on PowerArena AI line balancing, an EMS company in a production base in Vietnam identified the hidden causes of inefficiency on the production line, and eventually significantly improved the overall output rate by 8.3%.

Shanghai RFID

The third company is Shanghai RFID. With most other RFID companies are different, Shanghai RFID focus on the supply chain, RFID products and the Internet of Things closely integrated to help customers create a "real-time, on the ground, effective" agile supply chain. Currently domestic RFID companies in the supply chain field to develop less, Shanghai RFID is the first batch of "crabs" people, worth long-term attention.

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