The rapid growth of domestic robots “blocks” to be solved

The rapid growth of domestic robots “blocks” to be solved

Some core components rely on imported small and medium-sized enterprises “can’t afford” and “won’t use”

Robots are known as the “Pearl at the top of the manufacturing crown”, and are important equipment to realize the digitalization, networking and intelligence of industrial production.

The reporter recently interviewed and learned that since the “13th Five-Year Plan” period, my country’s Robot industry has shown a good momentum of development, with rapid growth in industrial scale, gradual rise of industrial clusters, and continuous deepening of industrial empowerment, which has become a powerful force for realizing intelligent manufacturing and promoting the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry. Grasp.

Although my country’s Robot industry now has a complete industrial chain, there are still some stuck points in production, sales and use. For example, some core components rely on imports, it is difficult to develop the domestic Robot market, and small and medium-sized enterprises “can’t afford it” or “can’t use it”. The interviewed experts suggested that we should adhere to the development of the entire robot industry chain, speed up the resolution of problems such as insufficient technology accumulation, weak industrial foundation, and lack of high-end supply, promote the precise coordination of “government, industry, education, research and application”, and comprehensively implement policies to form a “channel” for robot production, sales, and use. , to promote the robot industry to the middle and high end.

From “point” to “chain” industry development continues to improve

At Wuhu Eft Intelligent Equipment Co., Ltd., the reporter saw that robots used in different industries are performing “eighteen martial arts”: intelligent spraying robots can adjust the spraying trajectory according to the shape of furniture; flexible welding robots can move flexibly and arrive accurately Welds. “Thanks to the strong demand for ‘machine substitution’ in the manufacturing industry and the pull of the new energy industry under the ‘double carbon’ goal, the company’s robot business will grow rapidly in 2021.” The person in charge of Eft said that in 2021, only in the photovoltaic industry Just sold more than 1,000 robots.

In recent years, the scale of the industrial robot industry has grown rapidly. According to Shi Li, Director of the Equipment Industry Division of the Department of Economics and Information Technology of Anhui Province, during the “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan” period, the average annual growth rate of the robotics industry in Anhui Province reached 33%. In 2020, the main business income of the industrial robot industry in Anhui Province reached 38 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9%, and more than 6,100 industrial robots were promoted and applied throughout the year.

The development of Anhui’s robot industry has “accelerated”, which is the epitome of the continuous improvement of China’s robot industry.

According to the “14th Five-Year Plan for Robot Industry Development” issued by 15 departments including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, since the “13th Five-Year Plan”, my country’s robot industry has shown a good momentum of development, with a rapid growth in industrial scale, with an average annual compound growth rate of about 15%. In 2020, the density of manufacturing robots will reach 246 units per 10,000 people, nearly twice the global average. Service robots and special robots have achieved large-scale applications in warehousing and logistics, education and entertainment, cleaning services, security, inspection, medical rehabilitation and other fields.

According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China’s industrial robot market has ranked first in the world for many consecutive years, and the installed capacity in 2020 will account for 44% of the global total.

At the same time, the industrial robot industry cluster is gradually rising. Industry insiders said that my country’s robotics technology level and industrial chain integrity have continued to improve, and key technologies and components such as motion control, high-performance servo drives, and high-precision reducers have been accelerated, and the functions and performance of the whole machine have been significantly enhanced.

Although my country’s industrial robot industry started late, it has shown a rapid development trend from “point” to “chain”. Take Eft as an example. The company was hatched by Chery Automobile in 2007. At that time, there was only this robot company in Wuhu City. Today, there are more than 100 upstream and downstream enterprises in the Robot Industrial Park in Wuhu, forming a development trend of the whole industry chain.

According to statistics, as of November 2021, there are more than 360 robot companies in Anhui Province with an average annual revenue of more than 10 million yuan. The “Wu (Hu) Ma (Anshan) He (Fei)” robot industry cluster has become a well-known robot industry cluster in the country.

In addition to “Wu Ma He”, a number of industrial robot industry clusters in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, etc. have been formed across the country, realizing the development of the entire industrial chain of key components, complete machines, system integration, and demonstration applications.

Industrial empowerment is also deepening. As an important carrier of emerging technologies and key equipment of modern industries, the robotics industry leads the digital development and intelligent upgrading of industries, and constantly breeds new industries, new models and new formats.

Zhao Yong, secretary general of the Intelligent Robot Branch of the China Mechatronics Technology Application Association, said that industrial robots are not only industrial products, but also intelligent equipment that integrates machinery, electronics, sensors, artificial intelligence and other multi-disciplinary technologies, and are necessary for the high-quality development of the manufacturing industry. “Means of Production”.

The use of industrial robots will help promote the digital, intelligent and green transformation of the manufacturing industry. According to data from the Anhui Provincial Department of Economics and Information Technology, in the first 11 months of 2021, Anhui Province will promote and apply 8,500 industrial robots, cultivate 41 provincial-level smart factories, 60 green factories, and 227 digital workshops; and produce 170,000 new energy vehicles. vehicles, an increase of 1.5 times year-on-year, ranking fourth in the country.

The interviewed entrepreneurs and industry experts believe that my country’s manufacturing industry is currently accelerating its development towards digitization, networking and intelligence. The industrial robot industry is a powerful starting point for realizing intelligent manufacturing and promoting the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry. critical period.

There are blocking points in many links of the industrial chain and supply chain

Although the innovation engine continues to accelerate and the resilience of the industrial chain and supply chain increases, due to its late start and weak foundation, my country’s industrial robot industry still faces hidden concerns such as insufficient technology accumulation, lack of high-end supply, and blocked market promotion.

The lack of high-end supply and the dependence of some core components on imports are a major problem facing the development of my country’s industrial robot industry. According to the “White Paper on the Development of China’s Industrial Robot Industry (2021)” issued by the China Mechatronics Technology Application Association and other institutions, at present, the core parts and components market of China’s industrial robots is mainly occupied by Japanese, European and American companies, such as precision reducers and servo motors. In terms of software, there is still a certain gap between domestic brands and foreign advanced products in terms of stability, response speed, and ease of use.

Luo Tao, chairman of Wuhu Luka Robot Technology Co., Ltd., said that the gross profit margin of the core components of industrial robots is higher than that of the body and system integration. The gross profit margin of the robot body alone is generally 20% to 30%, but the profit margin of core components can be It can reach more than 40%, and some reducers can even reach more than 70%. It is very important to develop core components, otherwise, no matter how big the robot market is, my country will always be a market place for foreign companies. In addition, the monopoly of the core parts market by foreign countries may bring about rising costs, long delivery cycles and even the risk of supply interruption, threatening the security of the industrial chain and supply chain.

Yu Xiaodong, general manager of Wuhu Gugao Automation Technology Co., Ltd., said that with the increase in research and development investment and the accumulation of application experience, domestic controllers have achieved great breakthroughs, but most of the chips used in domestic controllers mainly rely on imports. Due to the relatively small shipments of domestic industrial robots, domestic chip companies are not willing to invest in the R&D and production of industrial robot chips. In the future, chips will be more widely used in high-end equipment such as industrial robots and high-end CNC machine tools.

In addition, domestic robot companies are also facing difficulties in market promotion, and problems such as “can’t sell”, “can’t afford to buy”, and “can’t use it” coexist. “The rise of domestic robots over the past decade has impacted the monopoly position of foreign companies and lowered product prices. However, when prices are similar, domestic companies will give priority to foreign companies’ robot products, and domestic robot companies’ products cannot be sold.” Senior practitioner Xu Jianxing Say.

Domestic robot companies are at a disadvantage in the competition with foreign robot companies, mainly in weak brands and weak technology accumulation. Most of the domestic robot companies started late, while foreign robot companies have been deployed in the Chinese market for many years. The user companies of related robots have become accustomed to using foreign brands, especially in the automobile manufacturing and 3C electronics industries, which are used in large quantities and require the highest equipment quality.

Xu Jianxing said that only when robots are applied in specific scenarios can they upgrade the process package and accumulate technical experience. Foreign robot companies have higher precision and stability due to decades of technology accumulation. If Chinese robot enterprises lose market and application opportunities for a long time, it will hinder the accumulation of technology and further widen the technological gap with foreign countries.

On the one hand, it is “unable to sell”, on the other hand, some small, medium and micro enterprises “cannot afford” industrial robots. The first is the high investment threshold. Industrial robots are often sold as a system integration rather than a single unit. If small and medium-sized enterprises want to upgrade their production lines, they need a lot of investment and lack investment motivation. The second is the high threshold of operation. At present, there is a lack of relevant technical talents in robot programming and maintenance in the market, and the employment cost is also high.

Automation is an inevitable choice for the manufacturing industry, and it is also a prerequisite for the realization of intelligent manufacturing. Problems such as “can’t sell”, “can’t afford to buy”, and “won’t use it” will hinder my country’s robot companies from entering high-end products, and it is also not conducive to small, medium and micro enterprises moving towards intelligent manufacturing.

Comprehensive measures to form “channels” for production, sales and use

The “14th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Robot Industry” pointed out that the next five years or even a longer period of time will be a period of strategic opportunity for my country’s robot industry to become self-reliant and self-reliant. We must seize opportunities, face challenges head-on, and speed up the resolution of problems such as insufficient technology accumulation, weak industrial foundation, and lack of high-end supply, so as to promote the robotics industry to the mid-to-high end.

The relevant person in charge of Eft suggested that through the cooperation of “government, industry, university, research and application” and overseas technology mergers and acquisitions, the problem of “is there” in the core components of industrial robots can be solved first, and then the problem of “excellent or not” can be solved further. In addition, it is recommended to support high-quality domestic enterprises in the field of core parts and components to achieve key breakthroughs.

Luo Tao said that the current market share of domestic industrial robots is too low, and it is difficult to grow by itself. It is recommended that relevant departments issue policies. The first is to encourage enterprises, especially large state-owned enterprises and listed companies, to use domestic robots and play an exemplary role. opportunities for technology accumulation. Secondly, when supporting domestic robot companies, it must be targeted and systematic, not only on scale, but on the research and development capabilities of the company and its role in strengthening the chain, so as to improve the overall market competitiveness of my country’s industrial robots.

“We must always adhere to the development of the entire robot industry chain and continue to increase policy supply.” Shi Li said that Anhui Province issued policies such as the “Anhui Robot Industry Development Plan (2018-2027)” and supported the construction of robot projects with real money. , In 2019 and 2020, a total of 746 key projects of various types of robots have been supported for two consecutive years, and 251 million yuan of subsidy funds have been issued.

The reporter found in the survey that local governments and enterprises have carried out some useful explorations on the problems of “can’t afford” and “won’t use” for small, medium and micro enterprises. Nankang District, Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province is a large-scale furniture production cluster in China. Eft has established an “intelligent shared spraying factory” with relevant local departments and enterprises, and has completed the furniture spraying process for many local small, medium and micro enterprises by processing materials. This “shared factory” and “shared robot” model saves the investment of equipment and manpower for small, medium and micro enterprises, and also helps to optimize the overall production capacity of the region.

In addition to policy support and business model innovation, robots can also be made “better to use” through technological improvements. The current new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is accelerating. The new generation of information technology, biotechnology, new energy, new materials, etc. are deeply integrated with robotics technology. The robotics industry is ushering in a window period for upgrading and leapfrog development. Zhao Yong said that it is necessary to seize the commanding heights of scientific and technological competition and industrial development, and promote the popularization and generalization of robot technology. Industrial robots should move from “robots to replace humans” to artificial intelligence, and focus on improving flexibility and ease of use.

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Published on 08/27/2022