Cooperative robots, also known as cobots, are used especially at factories because of their autonomous operation functions and interactive capabilities. They can pick up tools and pass them to workers or hold up shoe parts so that craftsmen can work with their backs straightened out. Kyochon F&B, a fried chicken franchise operator, also adopted a cobot in the western port city of Incheon in August 2021 to cook fried chickens alongside their human coworkers.
According to data released by Grand View Research, a global market research firm, the global market for cobots will reach $10.1 billion by 2025. In September 2023, Hanwha Momentum, the industrial machinery unit of Hanwha, showcased HCR-14, a cobot capable of loading up to 14 kilograms (30.8 pounds) at the EMO Hannover 2023, a trade fair in Germany.
Hanwha Group said on October 4 that Hanwha Robotics was launched to expand its cobot business. The subsidiary was set up by separating sections in charge of manufacturing cobots and automated guide vehicles (AGVs) from Hanwha Momentum's factory automation division. Hanwha Corporation holds the cobot producer's 68 percent stake and a 32 percent stake is owned by Hanwha Hotels & Resorts, the hospitality wing of Hanwha.
The new cobots can help Hanwha Hotels & Resorts in the fields of cooking, facility management, and security. "We will develop robots that can be used in many different areas such as food tech and security," Hanwha Robotics' strategic planning division head Kim Dong-seon said in a statement on October 4. Kim, who is the youngest son of Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-yeon, aims to provide new robots for industries with high safety risks and manpower shortages.
The adoption of cobots is steadily gaining momentum in South Korea. In May 2023, robot chefs created by Doosan Robotics, a domestic collaborative robot manufacturer, were used at a golf event in the eastern city of Chuncheon to provide noodles, fried chicken menus, and hot dogs. The company also utilized its beverage robot that can make a cup of Caffè Americano in 45 seconds.
VIPS, a family restaurant brand owned by the franchise restaurant wing of South Korean food conglomerate CJ, has adopted a robot that can cook some 10 noodle menus. About 40 to 50 dishes can be cooked per hour.
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