Robot System Products (RSP), a Swedish company that produces components that “dress” an industrial robot, closed down its plant in China in 2018, despite China being the world’s biggest consumer of industrial robots with annual sales of 250,000. India, in contrast, sells about 5,500 industrial robots.
Now, RSP, having found an Indian partner, is all for stepping up operations in India and, eventually, a manufacturing plant as well.
RSP has now set up a subsidiary in India, in which the Indian partner, Arvind Vasu (son of T T Vasu of the Chennai-based TTK group), has a stake. RSP India is testing the Indian waters, but Vasu says that a manufacturing unit is very much on the cards.
Due to climate change concerns, western countries are inclined to have dispersed manufacturing facilities, to lessen transportation. RSP has chosen India.
“In the western world, we feel that China doesn’t feel like it is as safe as it used to be,” says Eddie Eriksson, President, RSP, adding that “China is not low cost anymore.”
RSP was formed by spinning off a robot division of ABB. Both Eriksson and Vasu have worked for ABB, but knew each other only recently. Eriksson says that finding Vasu, who knew robotics, was finding “an opportunity” to enter India.
The company does not manufacture industrial robots, but many products that are fitted into robots—such as grippers and cable management systems. Its customers are integrators, who build robotic lines for end-users like car or electronics companies.
“We are robot-brand-independent,” says Vasu, adding that RSP’s products can go into any brand of robots.
While the Indian market is relatively small, the company is gung-ho about its prospects. “Robot density in India (number of robots divided by number of employees) is 4; in most other countries, it is 30 and above,” says Vasu, noting that the upsides in India are big.