Fri, Mar 27, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Taiwan’s Delta is looking to robots and electric cars

Bloomberg

Delta Electronics chairman Yancey Hai poses for a portrait following a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore yesterday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Computer makers including Apple Inc and Dell Inc have turned to Delta Electronics Inc (台達電) to power their PCs for the past decade. Now, the supplier is moving into electric vehicles and factory robots.

“It’s a natural evolution,” Delta chairman Yancey Hai (海英俊) said of the release last year of its first robot. “We make most of the components already.”

While Delta’s biggest revenue contributor is the humble business of supplying to desktop and notebook PC makers, the Taipei-based company has 20 years of research in motors and sensors to call upon. A projected decline in demand for computers is forcing Delta to invest more in robotics and tap into a vehicle-charging market estimated to reach US$2.9 billion.

“Adopting this strategy is a good thing when you consider that the PC and notebook business is stagnating,” SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (永豐金控) analyst Darryl Cheng (鄭德榮) said. “Yet those industries take a long time for a company to penetrate into.”

From 60 percent last year, Dselta expects to cut the sales contribution from its power electronics division — which includes power converters for computers, their related components and cooling fans — to 50 percent by 2020, Hai said.

With a smaller division making motors, sensors and control systems for industrial automation, Delta already offers 75 percent of the parts that go into robots.

A US$10,000 industrial robot the company unveiled last year is leading Delta’s latest push into factory automation. The company uses the robots in its own factories and expects to offer them at competitive prices relative to Japanese rivals, Hai said in an interview on Wednesday.

“The technology is driven by the need,” he said of the recent push into factory automation. “China is now the largest worldwide user of robots.”

Delta’s move from components and control systems to completed robots will help drive sales from that business to as much as US$100 million by 2020 after starting last year, he said. Delta reported revenue for last year of NT$190.6 billion (US$6 billion).

Another Delta unit supplies General Motors Co and Tesla Motors Inc with electric motors, onboard battery chargers and power converters.

Vehicle-charging service revenue will jump 18-fold to US$2.9 billion by 2023, Navigant Research estimates.

While its electric vehicle products only brought in about US$57 million in sales last year, a deal announced this month to supply charging stations to a Chinese partner will help that business’s sales climb as much as 30 percent this year.

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