Robotics Start-up Raises Over $200,000 in One Hour on Kickstarter

UFACTORY’s low-cost xArm competes with other more expensive robotics systems.

Just one hour after launching its Kickstarter campaign, Chinese robotics company UFACTORY met its funding target of $200,000—and reached its funding goal in just 18 hours.

While industrial robots are essential to manufacturing in various industries, they are often so expensive that only largescale manufacturers can afford the price. Marketed as “the most cost-effective intuitive industrial robotic arm,” the xArm is intended to help boost productivity for small- and medium-sized businesses, research labs, maker spaces and other manufacturers that have been unable to take advantage of robotics’ benefits in their operations.

The xArm is listed for between $2,299 and $5,999—a price friendly to small- and medium-sized clients. UFACTORY claims the robot could improve productivity by over 95 percent in small factory settings. The company states that “the investments spent are quickly earned back by decreased labor costs and increased production.”

UFACTORY introduces the xArm robotic arm.

The xArm is built for precision work, which allows it to operate machines such as 3D printers without error. Equipped with a computerized vision system, it can be programmed to remove prints from the 3D printer’s bed when complete. This means manufacturers can leave it tending to their 3D printers overnight to increase production speed and capacity.

The xArm is available in three models: the xArm 5 Lite priced at $2,299, the xArm 6 for $4,999 and the xArm 7, which costs $5,999. The xArm 5 Lite is ideal for pick-and-place tasks. The more sophisticated xArm 6 offers a payload of 5kg and repeatability of 0.1mm. It also provides increased dexterity and flexibility. The xArm 7 has almost human-like flexibility. It was produced with emerging industries like artificial intelligence (AI) research and service automation in mind.

All xArm models feature universal tool mount ports. They are easy to install in as little as 10 minutes. They also feature powerful and complex controlling algorithms that can be programmed through an intuitive software package that supports multiple programming platforms.

The xArm in action.

This is the third time UFACTORY has used crowdfunding to finance its research. It’s not the only robotics company to use the crowdsourcing platform to raise funds. There are more than 600 robotics projects on Kickstarter, including a 3D-printed robotic hand, airborne minesweeper drone and home security assistant, along with robot programming kits for kids and battle bot teams looking to upgrade their mechanical gladiators.

The rapid success of the xArm crowdsourcing campaign is sure to convince other startups to look to Kickstarter as a funding option. This could lead to many other robotics companies securing the financing they need to bring their innovative products to market.

Want to learn about other crowdfunded robotics projects? Check out Vector Wants to Be the Home Robot that Feels Alive.