Market Trend
Robots are in "rigid demand" and the market is in a counter-cyclical growth
6 months ago Clicks
During the epidemic period, the market demand for "contactless work" such as unmanned distribution and unmanned inspection has increased greatly, and robots have been widely used in various places. For the robot industry, this is an opportunity to turn the crisis into a business opportunity.

At the same time, the launch of the national "new infrastructure" policy also points out the direction for the development of the robot industry.

Buaa/professor, honorary director of the robotics institute tutors tian-miao wang said: "the state 'new infrastructure construction to the development of robot industry has played a great role in promoting, especially" the construction and development of 5 g industry chain upstream and downstream industry, this will affect to the robot architecture from the underlying, application technology and so on, to further improve the stability, reliability and sensitivity of robot products, improve toB with toC end users use the robot's experience."

Robots are 'rigid'

To be specific, the positive impact of "new infrastructure" on the development of the robot industry is mainly manifested in two aspects:

First, the popularization of 5G technology makes remote operation of robots possible. Remote control operation is the development trend of the robot industry in the future, but remote control has higher requirements on network delay and bandwidth. 5G technology has the characteristics of high speed and low delay, and can access devices on a large scale, providing a high-quality network environment for remote control of robots.

In addition, a large amount of data will be generated during the robot's working process, and 5G technology will also help the robot to transmit, process and analyze data quickly.

Secondly, 5G technology can make robots more responsive, and the cooperation between robots will be enhanced. Collaboration refers to the collaboration of multiple robots, which forms the basis of a production line of customized, flexible robots. "Collaboration" cannot be achieved without real-time control, and real-time control cannot be achieved without 5G communication technology. 5G could make robots more responsive and enhance collaboration between robots.

Wang tianmiao believes that "digitalization, flexibility, collaboration and intelligence" are the symbolic development trends of "new infrastructure". These trends, combined with AI, 5G and IoT technologies, will greatly promote the development of the robot industry. This is the driving effect of the "new infrastructure" on the robot industry.

In addition to the impact of the construction of "new infrastructure", the decline in the domestic employment population and rising labor costs are also important reasons for the increased demand for robots in the market.

So far, China's Labour force between the ages of 16 and 59 has been declining, with the latest figure of 890m, a large proportion of whom work in the service sector in big cities. In terms of labor costs, domestic labor costs are growing at about 11 percent a year.

In 2008, the average annual salary for a worker was around 24,000 yuan; now it is around 72,000 yuan. The cost of robots is decreasing by 10% every year. For example, the cost of industrial robots has dropped from 600,000 yuan/set to 400,000 yuan/set, then to 300,000 yuan/set, and now the price is even lower than 150,000 yuan/set.

"Now, the price of some domestic robot products has been reduced to 50,000 yuan per set." Wang tianmiao said that using robots, after all, is an optimal choice for enterprises to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Wang predicted that the market size of host machines, components and integrators in China's robot industry will exceed 100 billion yuan by 2020.

Wang tianmiao said: new energy vehicles, automotive electronics, LED panel processing, machining (mechanical processing) and plastic chemical; Food, packaging, logistics, healthcare, restaurant chains, security patrols and agriculture are all sectors that will see increased demand for "dehumanisation", and the robotics industry will see further growth in these sectors.

At present, according to the industry division, the robot application density ranks the first in the automobile industry, the second in electronic manufacturing and 3C industry, the third in "machine plus" industry, the fourth in chemical industry and the fifth in food industry. These are also the top five industries for robotics applications.

"Robot applications in the industry, from the present point of view is still a rigid demand." Wang Tianmiao thinks.

The robot market is growing counter-cyclical

The number of industrial robots shipped globally in 2019 was about 397,000, down about 6 percent from a year earlier. The global industrial robot population increased from 1.23 million in 2012 to 1.83 million in 2016, with a compound growth rate of 11%. It is expected that the global industrial robot population will exceed 3 million in 2020.

"This data shows two things about robot development." Wang Tianmiao said.

First, the robot is a rigid product. The growth rate of global industrial robot sales has been maintained at 10-12% for 10 consecutive years, and the growth rate of China's industrial robot sales has been the first in the world for 8 consecutive years, with the average growth rate around 25%.

Second, global shipments of industrial robots fell in 2019. There are two main reasons: first, influenced by the global economic cycle, the development of the robot market is also subject to fluctuations; Second, due to sino-us trade friction, industrial robots are restricted in import and export.

Automobile industry is the main field of industrial robot application. In 2019, the proportion of industrial robots used in foreign automobile industry reached 45%, and that in domestic automobile industry reached 50%. So if the auto industry goes into a soft patch, industrial production will follow. Global demand for similar automotive products fell by an average of -8% to -10% in 2019, with demand for industrial robots also falling.

In addition to the automotive industry, electronic manufacturing, 3C industry market also appears weak. Mobile phones and appliances, a hallmark of electronics manufacturing, fell by about 5%, while 3C fell by about 30%.

The decline in demand for cars and 3C products has led to a decline in overall demand for industrial robots, which have seen shipments plummet.

"Demand for industrial robots is declining in the automotive, electronics and 3C industries, but there are also countercyclical growth industries such as consumer goods, building materials, chemicals, logistics and warehousing, handling and stacking, and the demand for industrial robots is still rising," wang said. Second, new robotics technologies, including machine vision or touch, AGV, parallel connection and robot collaboration, will also drive the counter-cyclical growth of the robotics industry."

"In 2018, the number of self-branded robots sold in China was 130,000, accounting for about a third of the global total. China's industrial robot market sales fell for the first time in 2018, but the country still holds 36 percent of the global market share in terms of installed capacity. This also shows that China's self-owned brand robots are growing up and going abroad. In addition, domestic robots have advantages over top-tier foreign brands in terms of price and service."

"The quality of robots and the distribution of their industries can be seen to a certain extent," wang said.

For example, in the automotive industry, the proportion of domestic robots in the automotive industry is 11%, while the proportion of foreign robots is as high as 89%. The reason for the low proportion of domestic robots in the automotive industry is that "China's industrial robots lack experience in multi-machine sets and high reliability, and it takes time to enter into industrial scenes such as automobile manufacturing".

Foreign robot manufacturers have rich experience in building robot solutions for the automotive industry. They have gone through a "bumpy" period, so their overall solutions are relatively mature and can be used directly. Domestic enterprises are relatively backward in this respect.

Robots alone are not enough for the construction of intelligent automobile pipelining production line. Robot sensors, conveyor belts, loading and unloading handling, stacking, AGV and other equipment are also needed for a highly integrated integrated overall solution.

More importantly, "the automobile welding production line is particularly demanding on the robot as a whole".

The average time for a fully intelligent car production line is currently 1.5-3 minutes. Any link failure, the enterprise will cause huge losses. Therefore, in the automotive industry, the overall solution must be highly integrated and safe and reliable.

Conquer "one soft and two hard"

At present, China's robot industry after nearly 10 years of vigorous development, has begun to take shape. The innovation capacity of the industry has been significantly enhanced, important breakthroughs have been made in key technologies, significant progress has been made in the development of key components, and the development order of the industry has become increasingly standardized. However, from the point of view of the development of the whole industry, there is still a gap compared with the advanced level of foreign countries.

China remains the core technology to break through, the industrial robot industry foundation is weak, key parts performance and reliability is not stable, existing products can not meet the application requirements of market segments, the independent brand popularization and application, the enterprise market competitiveness is not strong, research and development funds and the shortage of talents, standard test certification system is not perfect, the market competition order in urgent need of specification.

"There is a big gap between us and foreign countries in cutting-edge technology and core components," wang said. "The us is the leader in cutting-edge technology and Germany and Japan in industrial and process components. If China drives the entire robot industry through new infrastructure and specific 'massive' industries, in about five years' time, China will be able to compete and compete with foreign companies on the international stage. "

There are three signs that China's industrial robot enterprises can compete with foreign enterprises: First, the leading enterprises must produce more than 10,000 sets of robots; Second, strengthen the research and development of core components, such as "one soft and two hard". Third, can appear a batch of original foundation, and basic technology has breakthrough.

In terms of technology, China focuses more on application technology, and integrated application is China's advantage. In the core components, China and foreign countries in "one soft and two hard" gap.

"One software" refers to the industrial software for robots, including forward design software, system integration process application design software, industrial Internet application software, etc., all of which are relatively backward in China. China is relatively backward in the form of the representation of the "four high", relatively speaking in the high-end demand is relatively poor. The four are: high speed, high load, high precision, high reliability.

"Two hard", refers to the reducer and motor. The reducer is mainly harmonic reducer and RV reducer. The sales volume of domestic harmonic reducer has reached 40%, but the development of RV reducer lags behind. The development of motor is fast in China, but the varieties of high technology and high value-added products are few and the output is low.

Wang told Yiou that the domestic robot industry needs to improve its capabilities in "one soft and two hard" aspects from five aspects.

First, continue to conquer the key technology of "clamp neck" with traction in the industry to improve the robot's "four high" performance -- high speed, high load, high precision and high reliability.

Second, increase the research and development of common key technologies in the robot industry, such as Internet platform operating system, intelligent material operation actuator, multi-machine and human-to-machine collaboration and other key technologies.

Third, it pays attention to the basic innovation of cross-disciplines, including open OS and special AI chip, artificial muscle and skin, cognitive and emotional interaction of robot, etc.

Fourth, develop the flexible customized intelligent workshop demonstration project, and promote the integration and application of industrial Internet of Things, AGV, 3D printing, high-end CNC machine tools and other technologies by flexible unmanned production lines based on customer orders of new energy vehicles, 3C display and electronics, agricultural and non-agricultural food materials, medicine and beauty.

Fifth, explore and create new robot service modes, pay more attention to social service robots and household service robots, explore new robot use modes such as rental and sharing, and focus on developing service robot application scenarios such as cleaning, logistics distribution, reception, new retail and elderly care.
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