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China has been the world's largest market for industrial robots

China has been the world's largest market for industrial robots for five consecutive years

Industrial "Iron Man" is on its way. Hashimoto Yasuhiko, president of the Japan Robot Industry Association, said recently that the order amount of industrial robots in Japan in 2018 increased by 7% over 2017, exceeding 1 trillion yen, and the order amount of industrial robots in 2019 is expected to reach 1 trillion and 50 billion yen. On January 16, AI unicorn company MegVII Technology announced that it would invest 2 billion yuan to enter the robot market and launch a logistics robot network collaborative operating system - River Map, with the goal of connecting more than 1 billion robots within 5 years. Various companies have heard the news, and the industrial "Iron Man" market will detonate on a large scale. Which industrial robots will be popular? Which Chinese industrial robot shortcomings need the industry to "die" together?


The global smart manufacturing boom is driving the growth of the industrial robot market

"Despite the negative impact of the trade friction between the U.S. and China, investment in robot automation is still high in China and Europe," Hashimoto said at an industry event held at a hotel in Tokyo. At the same time, he further expressed confidence that the order amount will exceed 1 trillion for two consecutive years.

Japan is a global bellwether for industrial robots. At present, the four global robot "steel" (ABB, Fanuc, Yaskawa, Kuka), Japan occupies two. "Japan leads the world in terms of both capacity and exports." Liu Zhuang, senior analyst of CCID Consulting intelligent manufacturing Industry Research Center, said in an interview with China Electronics News.

"From the perspective of industrial data, more than half of Japan's industrial robot production capacity is used for exports, and the number of exports accounts for about 70% of the production capacity, most of which are exported to China, South Korea, India, the Philippines and other Asian countries." The global upsurge of intelligent manufacturing, especially represented by emerging market countries such as China and India, has expanded a huge application market for industrial robot applications driven by the accelerated transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing structure. Therefore, Japanese industrial robots are expected to maintain a stable growth trend under the rapid expansion of overseas markets." Liu Zhuang also said that stable growth will be maintained, but there will not be an "Iron Man" outbreak everywhere. Because the traditional application market of industrial robots has tended to be saturated (such as the penetration rate of robots in the automotive field of more than 90%), the application of emerging industries has not been fully opened, so the scale of the industrial robot industry is difficult to form explosive growth in the short term.

International Federation of Robotics; IFR forecasts that the global industrial robot market growth will pick up again from 2019 and is expected to grow by an average of 14% per year through 2021. The demand for robot automation in automotive, electronics, metal industry and other fields continues to increase, both large enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises have shown great interest in automation, and are willing to try to take advantage of robot transformation, so that enterprises can catch the intelligent manufacturing express. China has been the world's largest industrial robot application market for five consecutive years. It is expected that by 2020, the scale of China's robot market will further expand to 200 billion yuan, and the development prospect of industrial robots is "hot".

Zhang Lingyan, general manager of CIDI Consulting intelligent manufacturing Industry Research Center, told China Electronics News that China's industrial robot market is developing rapidly, and the market size accounts for about one-third of the global market. It is expected that the market size of China's industrial robot will reach 51.3 billion yuan in 2019, and will exceed 75 billion yuan by 2021.

Statistics released by Xiamen Customs in January show that in 2018, the import of industrial robots in Xiamen Customs area increased by 1.2 times over the previous year; The main imported varieties are multi-functional industrial robots, which increased 2.1 times, accounting for 59.3%; Import handling robots increased 1.3 times.

From the development point of view, the actual demand may also be higher than the expectations of the organization, many times the market variables depend on the cost of technology and products, if the robot supply side can make the industrial robot lower cost, higher degree of intelligence, enterprise users "do not use". When MegVII Technology founder and CEO Inky announced his entry into the robot market, he said that with the advent of the AIoT era, productivity will be reshaped, and industrial enterprises are forced to simultaneously upgrade IoT and IT. The disappearance of the demographic dividend, so that HR management people into IT management robots, there are more possibilities.

The largest application market of industrial robots is still the automotive industry

The reason why MegVII bet on AIoT and give priority to landing in the logistics industry is to take into account that almost every industrial enterprise has logistics and manufacturing. In the context of AIoT, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and perception systems have also expanded the application scenarios of robots. More and more industrial robots are gradually coming out of the closed scene. According to Tractica, the logistics and storage robot market will reach $22.4 billion by 2021.

Zhang Lingyan said that from the perspective of investment potential, AGV, multi-joint robots, parallel robots, storage robots, servo control systems and other short and medium term concerns. The domestic technology of core components has broken the ice and is accelerating iteration, and the capital can consider the control and servo system, harmonic reducer in the near future, and RV reducer in the future. Industrial robot ontology investment takes a differentiated strategy with industry giants, and in the near future, it can focus on cost-effective middle and low-end ontology (AGV, parallel robot, etc.). In the next 5-10 years, the system tends to deepen the professional subdivision field, and the customized industry applications such as food and chemical industry, ceramics and sanitary ware, furniture, etc., bring more opportunities, and capital can consider entering.

Liu Zhuang said that at present, the largest application market of industrial robots is still the automotive industry, but the proportion of the scale has shown a downward trend, and the proportion of metal manufacturing, plastics and chemicals and other fields has been greatly increased, which can further show that the application of industrial robots is becoming more mature, and the diversified development trend of industry applications is obvious. With the continuous improvement of the industrial robot market and the improvement of manufacturing enterprises' demand for product processing quality, processing efficiency and processing accuracy, the market is increasingly demanding for the performance of industrial robots, and industrial robot technology is accelerating to the direction of intelligent, modular and systematic development. At the same time, in order to meet the requirements of high-speed and high-precision control, robot mechanisms are more miniaturized. In addition, due to the complex application environment of industrial robots, some industry processing processes need man-machine collaboration to complete, in order to ensure the safety of workers, with self-sensing, self-learning and other highly intelligent man-machine collaborative robots will be sought after by the market.

How can China's industrial robots enhance market competitiveness

Talking about the current development status of industrial robots in China, Liu Zhuang said that the current trend of localization of industrial robots is becoming more obvious. On the one hand, domestic enterprises are accelerating the breakthrough of robot technology barriers through investment and mergers. On the other hand, Chinese enterprises rely on independent research and development accumulation, and gradually achieve breakthroughs in the core fields of industrial robots. Including Siatsu machinery people, Qinchuan, Green harmonic, Huichuan technology and other backbone enterprises through independent research and development accumulation, in the RV reducer, harmonic reducer, controller and other core parts to accelerate breakthroughs, R & D products in the service life, accuracy basically close to the level of international brands.

Zhang Lingyan said that at present, the proportion of domestic control servo system products in China's industrial robot parts has gradually increased, the low-end market penetration rate of bulk manufacturing has increased, and the system integration market competition is more fierce. From the perspective of components, there are more than 10 domestic enterprises involved in the research and development of reducers in 2018, and only 5-6 have the capacity to produce goods, and the market is almost monopolized by Japanese enterprises. In terms of control servo system, domestic enterprises have certain independent supporting capabilities, and the market share of domestic brands is about 15%, and strive to gradually improve. From the perspective of ontology manufacturing, the overall scale of China's robot ontology business in 2018 showed a growth trend, of which more than 80% of manufacturers' ontology business showed year-on-year growth.

Liu Zhuang said that although China has now developed into the world's largest robot application market, industrial development still faces problems such as weak core competitiveness and imperfect innovation mechanism. To enhance competitiveness, one is to continue to strengthen the research and development capabilities of core components and reduce robot production costs. At present, the three core components such as robot servo system, reducer and controller not only determine the performance and quality of robot products, but also determine the price, accounting for about 70% of the robot as a whole. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the research ability of core component technology, reduce costs, and enhance competitiveness. Second, we should encourage mergers and reorganizations of enterprises and focus on cultivating leading enterprises in the industry. According to incomplete statistics, at present, the number of robot-related enterprises in China has exceeded 3,000, but from the perspective of enterprise scale, there are only dozens of enterprises with annual sales revenue of more than 100 million. It can be seen that China is still short of international robot leading enterprises. The third is to optimize China's industrial robot collaborative innovation mechanism. Compared with the international leading enterprises, there is a big gap in the innovation ability of China's local industrial robot enterprises, which should be started from the aspects of strengthening the common key technology research, improving the robot innovation platform, strengthening the construction of the standard system and building the inspection and certification system.

In fact, the key to making industrial robots more competitive is in the "brain." Inch gave the example of the Tmall warehouse robot at the river map conference. From the data released by Ali, the use of automated warehousing has improved parcel efficiency by 30%, and said that whether storage robots can improve efficiency, the key lies in the brain. Therefore, if China's industrial robots want to improve their competitiveness faster, more AI companies need to join the team of industrial robots. From the current point of view, AI companies on the manufacturing industry is not high, according to the Chinese Academy of Engineering academician Wu Hequan data, the current field of China's artificial intelligence investment, 23.4% is distributed in commercial and retail, 18.3% is distributed in automatic driving, while the manufacturing industry is less than 1%.

Seize the pain point market, China's industrial robots have greater opportunities to break through. Chen Jianliang, chairman of Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard, said in an interview with a reporter of China Electronics News that at present, in the shipbuilding industry, in addition to robot welding, workers are still needed to weld, because many corner areas, robots can not achieve welding work. Now it takes more than 200,000 yuan to train a welder, but fewer and fewer workers are willing to engage in welding technology. If the welding robot can complete the corner welding, it will be able to solve Chen Jianliang's worries. Not long ago, Siasun announced that its intelligent welding robot workstation was applied to Guangship International Co., Ltd. and Huangpu Wenchong Ship Co., LTD. The workstation is composed of loading assembly station, robot welding station, back burning station, repair unloading station and production line control station. Advanced technologies such as 3D visual scanning, spot laser locating, laser weld tracking, robot online control and robot intelligent welding are applied to realize robot non-teaching programming welding, and form a robot standardized production unit with high efficiency, high precision, wide application range and strong reliability.

In fact, China is promoting the upgrading of the manufacturing industry, there are many pain points in the upgrading process, there are a large number of new, typical application scenarios, China's robot supply side to seize these pain points of demand, to solve the problem, it is possible to let China's industrial "Iron Man" to create a unique competitiveness and walk the world.

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