Chinese robot market broke out: Is it a pie or a trap for business?

“Made in China” is undergoing transformation, from labor-intensive to smart manufacturing, which has ignited the domestic industrial robot market.


The data shows that China has become the world's largest country to buy industrial robots. However, compared with China's huge manufacturing base, China's industrial robot utilization level is still very low. According to the statistics of the International Federation of Robotics, the number of robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers is 396 in South Korea, 332 in Japan, 273 in Germany, and 58 in the world. There are only 23 in China.
What is even more anxious is that although there are many domestic industrial robot suppliers, most of the market share is still occupied by foreign companies. How should Chinese local robot companies grasp the opportunities?
99% of manufacturing is still artificial
Leibo Technology, a computer peripheral manufacturer based in Shenzhen, has tasted the sweetness of robots and has become an active communicator.
According to Deng Qiuwei, general manager of Leibo Technology, Leibai introduced 75 robots in 2011, and implemented product design, integration, logistics restructuring, scheduling optimization and other changes through robot integration platform. The company's employees decreased from 3,200 in 2011. To 1,100 people in 2012.
As the first company in the industry to “eat crabs”, the company’s investment in robotics has saved manpower costs of 80 million yuan.
In Huizhou, adjacent to Shenzhen, local electronics manufacturer Huayang also "falls in love" with robots. Luo Mingguang, deputy general manager of Huayang Multimedia Electronics Co., Ltd. said that they have more than 1,200 manufacturing systems. In recent years, they have encountered the problem of “difficulties in recruiting workers, expensive labor, and large losses”.
After the 1990s, the employment population has declined, the mainland industry has risen, and the tertiary industry has developed, making recruitment more and more difficult. The cost of recruitment in Huizhou has reached 370 yuan per person. Moreover, the employment concept after the 90s has changed a lot, and the work is not the only one. It is the first choice. The average monthly turnover rate of the general electronics industry is about 16%. The post loss rate of night shifts and standing operations is higher. In addition, after 90s, employees are difficult to manage and production efficiency declines. Therefore, Huayang Multimedia established a special business unit in 2008 to promote automation technology reform and develop products such as three-axis robot platforms.
Luo Mingguang said with deep feeling: "The price of robots must be greatly reduced, otherwise it will not be promoted." Deng Qiuwei is more optimistic, he predicted that with the average price of industrial robots falling by 4% per year, and labor costs rising from 2004 to 2013 The average annual salary of personnel increased by 15%, which made the robotic investment return period (input cost/annual income) show a downward trend. It will take 6 years in 2010 and is expected to be shortened to 2.4 years in 2015.
According to the Economist magazine, in 2013, the Chinese market sold a total of 36,500 industrial robots. China has surpassed Japan to become the country with the largest number of industrial robots purchased annually. “The owners of the factories are now more inclined to use robots that are easy to manage. ".
Zhang Xiaofei, chairman of the Institute of High-Tech Robotics, told the reporter of China Business News that in the first three quarters of this year, the sales of domestic robots continued to grow at a high speed. From January to September 2014, the domestic industrial robot sales volume was 33,600 units, an increase of 32.5% year-on-year. It is expected to reach 45,000 units this year.
Even so, the space in the domestic robot market is still huge. Zhang Xiaofei predicts that China's smart manufacturing equipment industry will have an output value of 100 billion yuan in 2015, which will triple in the next five years and reach 300 billion yuan in 2020.
“Why is China’s manufacturing more than 99.42% of its work not replaced by robots? When and where is it replaced?” Qu Daokui, chairman of the China Robotics Industry Alliance and president of Xinsong Robotics Automation Co., asked.
SMEs are a problem and gold mines
Qu Daokui believes that the high-end application of the low-end industry is the "bottleneck" for the expansion of China's industrial robot market.
For example, he said that the polishing and polishing of the bathroom hardware industry requires dustproof, waterproof and explosion-proof robots, which is much more complicated than ordinary welding robots. At the same time, the original production mode of this industry is very backward, the market space is very large, but the price Extremely sensitive, how can this contradiction be solved?
Bai Xiaobo, director of the Guangzhou Industrial Research Institute Research Center, also shared the same feeling. After research, he believes that the problems facing the development of robots in the Pearl River Delta region are mainly in small and medium-sized enterprises.
Bai Xiaobo said that the proportion of labor-intensive enterprises in the Pearl River Delta is large, and the use of robotics technology has become increasingly demanding and unmanned. However, the low-cost operation mode of “short, flat and fast” makes the long-term investment less willing. . At present, a number of successful transformation and upgrading enterprises have emerged. For example, Guangzhou Automobile Group has integrated 138 robots to build a welding line for auto parts.
However, "Small and medium-sized enterprises have strong needs, but they face many difficulties." Bai Xiaobo said that from the traditional production mode to the modern production mode, there will be a “mixed production line” of automation, robot and manual operation, which increases the complexity of the robot automation solution and increases the investment cost.
“Enterprises usually require the cost of replacing automated equipment to be recovered within two to three years. The actual life of automated production lines and equipment is generally 5-8 years, or longer.” Bai Xiaobo suggested that managers need to establish new ideas. To adapt to the development of the situation.
When Deng Qiuwei shared the experience of Lei Baiwei, he believed that the cost of robotic wire body (automatic production line using robot as the main body) should not be "robot automation input + traditional operation platform", but "robot body + peripheral support - original work Industry platform investment." For example, he said that a power adapter manufacturer has expanded its production capacity and added a new line. The original planned 20-meter long conveyor belt invested 40,000 yuan. Now the robotic automation line body has 8 flexible workbench input costs of only 0.6 million yuan, saving input costs of 34,000. yuan.
SMEs are not only a problem but also a gold mine. Zuo Li, deputy general manager of Leisai Intelligent, believes that the breakthrough of domestic industrial robots is economical robots. In the automotive industry, robots with very high precision requirements are unlikely to compete with foreign companies in the short term.
"Domestic companies should focus on the development and application of economical robots for general manufacturing (hardware processing, and ceramics, food and medicine, etc.) outside the automotive industry, such as punching machines, injection molding machines, and other special loading and unloading robots, electronic product assembly (screw, point Glue) robots, polishing and polishing robots, palletizing robots, etc." Zuo Li said, "Make the robot dry, tired, dangerous, and repeat monotonous work!"
Zuo Li believes that the domestic economical industrial robot is characterized by the use of rotating joints, the use of domestic components as much as possible, and only one thing to focus on, so the cost is low, the efficiency is high, and the control is easy.
Qu Dao Kui Yan said that industrial robots and robotic arms are the lowest added value robots, but local enterprises must do it. This is the need for China's manufacturing transformation and upgrading. Zhang Xiaofei pointed out that once Chinese local robot companies can achieve breakthroughs in the robotics field of these traditional industries, they can be promoted to other emerging industrial countries such as India, when Chinese robot companies can also become multinational companies.
Don't take the old road of the auto industry
The demand for the Chinese robot market suddenly broke out, Qu Daokui said: "Is this a pie or a trap? Because the market is developing too fast, the foreign giants are all attracted, and the time for the local companies to grow slowly becomes shorter." He believes that China is the world's largest auto market, but the local auto industry has not really risen, and the robot industry should avoid repeating the mistakes of the auto industry.
According to statistics from the International Federation of Robotics, in 2013, foreign-funded enterprises sold more than 27,000 industrial robots in China, an increase of 20% over the previous year. According to the statistics of the China Robot Industry Alliance, domestic enterprises sold more than 9,500 industrial robots in China in 2013. , an increase of 65.5% compared with 2012.
"It should not be overlooked that Chinese robotics companies mainly occupy the low-end market and have low added value." Qu Daokui reminded that it is necessary to avoid the low-end of high-end industries. In the high-end industry of robots, it is only processing. Big, "local governments and enterprises should do strategic planning."
At present, under the enthusiasm of the capital market and the support policies of local governments, the domestic robot industry is heating up. There are more than 30 robotic industrial parks in the country, and there are more than 40 listed companies with robot concepts in the A-share market. Some companies want to do everything from robot bodies and components to system integration solutions. Zhang Xiaofei suggested that in the face of the competition of multinational giants, domestic enterprises "cut in the first step."
According to the statistics of the Institute of Robotics Industry, as of September 2014, there were 428 robot-related enterprises in China, including 175 in the first three quarters of this year. Among the 428 robot companies, 88% are system integrators; from the regional perspective, 117 in Guangdong account for 27%. If the enterprises in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai are added together, the number of enterprises in the Yangtze River Delta exceeds that in the Pearl River Delta.
Zhang Xiaofei said that Chinese robot parts companies are not mature enough and the market acceptance is low. Robotic ontology enterprises have small shipments and are not profitable. They rely on the main industry to feed. System integrators are mostly profitable, but the scale of enterprises is biased. Small; end users, biased towards foreign brands, demanding diversity and price sensitivity.
“In general industries outside the automobile, the demand for robots is growing rapidly. It is expected that the food and pharmaceutical industries will grow by 45% in 2014; the electronics and electrical appliances industry will grow by 33%; and the metal processing industry will grow by 31%.” Zhang Xiaofei said, “to find the right market. Positioning."
At the same time, through cross-border cooperation and cooperation with foreign capital, improve the technical level. This year, Yawei Co., Ltd. and Muse, Christie Technology and Kawasaki have launched strategic cooperation.
“It is imperative for China to catch up with high-end manufacturing from low-end manufacturing.” Zhang Xiaofei said that the Chinese robot market has become the focus of global competition. ABB, KUKA and other international “four big families” have not established a foothold in China, and service guarantee. Have not kept up, this gives a lot of space for local robot companies. "Localized parts are the basis for the development of domestic robots. Integration is the best way for the rapid development of domestic robots. Occupying the market is the best competitive strategy."

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