Robot industry stabilizes and rebounds

The robot industry may usher in an inflection point. Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics released data showing that in November 2019, the output of industrial robots reached 16,080 units, a year-on-year increase of 4.3%. Experts said that due to the decline of the automobile industry, the demand for industrial robots fell sharply for a time, but in the long run, the trend of replacing people with machines is irreversible, and the robot industry will maintain a high degree of prosperity in the future. However, the growth of industrial robots will slow down, and service robots will maintain high growth.

In recent years, industrial robots have entered a rapid development track in my country and even in the world. The transformation and upgrading of my country’s manufacturing industry structure, the continuous increase in labor costs, and the structural shortage of labor have become the driving force for the development of the industrial robot industry.

Data show that from 2016 to 2018, the annual output of robots in my country increased from 70,000 units to 140,000 units, with an average annual growth rate of more than 40%. In 2018, the installed volume of industrial robots in my country was about 154,000 units, surpassing Europe and the Americas and ranking first in the world. Among them, the density of industrial robots has increased rapidly. According to incomplete statistics, there were 140 robots per 10,000 employees in 2018, three times the number in 2015.

But what is surprising is that since September 2018, the industrial robot industry has turned sharply down, from the high double-digit growth that has been maintained before to negative growth. “Affected by the main robot application market of automobiles and their parts, the growth rate of robots has declined.” Qu Daokui, chairman of the China Robot Industry Alliance, said.

The Economic Daily reporter learned that currently handling and loading and unloading are still the most important application areas of robots, especially in the automotive and electronic information industries, accounting for 60%.

Fortunately, after more than a year of adjustment, the robot industry is slowly coming out of the downturn.

“Although the robot industry has been under pressure since the beginning of this year, and some core technologies and key technical components are controlled by others, this is just the golden period for the robot industry to optimize its structure and achieve healthy development.” Luo Junjie, deputy director of the Equipment Industry Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology He said that from a domestic perspective, the application fields and scenarios continue to expand, and the development momentum of robots is still strong.

“The short-term decline of the robot industry is only cyclical, and it will maintain rapid growth in the long run.” Shi Jinbo, co-founder and CEO of Li Qun Automation, told the Economic Daily reporter that at the just-concluded 2019 IREX robot exhibition in Japan, the company independently developed The first appearance of all categories, 9 series and 30 models of products attracted worldwide attention. In Shi Jinbo’s view, the key to Liqun Automation’s success in the international arena is independent innovation. “From the application layer to the top layer, including robot design, system, control, and application, the core technology of independent research and development is the advantage of Li Qun’s automation products.” Shi Jinbo said.

According to the forecast of China Electronics and Information Industry Development Research Institute, the scale of the robot market will maintain a growth rate of more than 27% in the next three years, and the scale of China’s robot market will exceed 76.1 billion yuan in 2019. From the perspective of market segment structure, the scale ratio of industrial robots still dominates, but the growth rate is slowing down, and service robots will maintain rapid growth. The intelligent transformation of enterprises, the continuous optimization of industrial application scenarios, and the application of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data have become the main factors driving the rapid development of China’s robot market.

According to data, Chinese robot companies have occupied nearly one-third of the Chinese market. In the future market competition, Chinese enterprises also have many competitive advantages compared with international giants.

“There is a big gap between China’s industrial robot industry and developed countries, but there are no related applications abroad in some fields, such as general-purpose robots, which is an opportunity for the market to stand out.” Shi Jinbo believes that China’s manufacturing system is very large. There are a lot of links that need to be improved by automation technology, and Chinese robot companies can optimize them more targetedly. “This requires the first line to obtain the customer’s process requirements, and then apply the process to the robot in advance, and then serve more integrators or customers.”

At present, robot applications are mainly concentrated in the automotive and electronic industries, and the promotion potential in other fields is huge. Electronics, automobiles, new energy and other fields are only a small part. With the advancement of intelligent manufacturing, the application of industrial robots is rapidly developing from the automobile and electronics industries to metallurgy, light industry, metal processing, petrochemical, food and beverage, medicine and health and other industries. Its application industries have expanded from 87 categories of the national economy in 2015 to 129 categories in 2018. In the future, service robots will extend from sweeping, cleaning and other robots in the past to education, medical care, escort, and distribution.

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