China en­forces his­toric Ro­bot Boom

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - ROBOTICS -

In 2018 China will ac­count for more than one-third of the in­dus­trial ro­bots in­stalled world­wide. At this very mo­ment China is en­gaged on a his­tor­i­cally un­prece­dented ef­fort to catch up in the race to­wards au­to­ma­tion. The lat­est fig­ures show that sales of in­dus­trial ro­bots jumped to around 57,000 units in 2014 – a rise of 56 per­cent. This is ac­cord­ing to the 2015 World Ro­bot Sta­tis­tics, is­sued by the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Ro­bot­ics (IFR). The na­tion’s ro­bot­ics in­dus­try is ben­e­fit­ing from an ad­di­tional boost in the form of the Chi­nese Govern­ment’s new com­pet­i­tive of­fen­sive, “China Man­u­fac­tur­ing 2025”.

“Among this new man­u­fac­ture, Ro­bot­ics is play­ing a very im­por­tant role. That is – while in re­cent years the other sec­tors were in­creas­ingly slow­ing down – the ro­bot­ics in­dus­try is go­ing up fast,” says Song Xiao­gang, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the China Ro­bot In­dus­try Al­liance (CRIA). “In light of the above, the ro­bot­ics in­dus­try is ex­hibit­ing rapid growth – com­pletely un­per­turbed by the cur­rent eco­nomic fal­low pe­riod ex­pe­ri­enced by other ar­eas of Chi­nese in­dus­try.”

Just five years ago the de­mand for in­dus­trial ro­bots in China was al­most equiv­a­lent to the level seen in the USA (ap­prox. 15,000 units). How­ever, sales in China have nearly quadru­pled in the in­ter­ven­ing pe­riod (2014: 57,000 units), while they have

just about dou­bled in the USA over the same pe­riod (2014: 26,200). Ac­cord­ing to IFR fore­casts the sales fig­ures posted in China are ex­pected to again rise dra­mat­i­cally, to­tal­ing around 150,000 units by 2018.

The fu­ture po­ten­tial in the ro­bot­ics mar­ket is also re­flected in the hith­erto com­par­a­tively low pen­e­tra­tion of ro­bot­ics in Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing. This is un­der­lined by a robotic den­sity of just 36 units per 10,000 em­ploy­ees in the pro­duc­tion in­dus­tries. This fig­ures is sig­nif­i­cantly lower than that of the other TOP 5 ro­bot­ics mar­kets – led by the global fore­run­ner South Korea with 478 in­dus­trial ro­bots per 10,000 em­ploy­ees in 2014, fol­lowed by Ja­pan (315 units), Ger­many (292 units) and the USA (164 units).

“Ac­cord­ing to re­cent sta­tis­tics, China’s ro­bot mar­ket is still dom­i­nated by the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try,” says Dr Jie­gao Wang, Vice Gen­eral Man­ager of ESTUN Ro­bot­ics. “The mar­ket share is still rel­a­tively large, but with a lim­ited growth rate. Huge mar­ket growth po­ten­tial for in­dus­trial ro­bots comes from the gen­eral in­dus­try. China’s gen­eral in­dus­tries, such as home ap­pli­ances, 3C, food and feed, rubber and plas­tics, ce­ram­ics, metal prod­ucts and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and other man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries are much larger than the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. It can be ex­pected that China’s fu­ture de­mand for in­dus­trial ro­bots will keep in­creas­ing for a long pe­riod to come, de­spite the global eco­nomic down­turn and the de­cel­er­at­ing growth rates of China’s econ­omy.” The mod­erni­sa­tion of pro­duc­tion in th­ese in­dus­trial fields is also the ob­jec­tive of the com­pet­i­tive of­fen­sive, “China Man­u­fac­tur­ing 2025”. Ro­bot­ics is one of the ten in­dus­trial sec­tors ex­plic­itly named.

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