Rapid Development of Domestic Brand Industrial Robots

With the rapid development of our own brand industrial robots, the market share of domestic industrial robots has been further enhanced. Among them, the technological breakthroughs of core components in recent years have played a driving role.

According to the latest data released by CRIA (China Robot Industry Alliance) and IFR (International Robot Federation), in 2018, self-owned brands reached 27.88% of the domestic industrial robot market, which is 4.3 percentage points higher than in 2017.

In 2018, 156,000 industrial robots were sold in China's industrial robot market, down 1.73% from the same period last year. For the first time, the sales of industrial robots declined from the same period last year. Despite the decline of the industry as a whole, the negative trend of independent brands has maintained rapid growth. The data show that in 2018, the sales of autonomous brand robots increased by 16.2% compared with the same period last year, while the sales of foreign-funded robots dropped by 7.2% compared with the same period last year.

The industry believes that the rapid development of domestic self-owned brand robots is related to the development of the core parts industry of robots in China.

"The core parts of the robot are mainly controller, servo motor and speed reducer, which can account for 60% to 70% of the total cost of multi-joint robots. In the past, China's core components mainly depended on imports, especially reducers, and technology was almost monopolized by Japanese enterprises. Song Xiaogang, executive director of China Robot Industry Alliance, said.

The three core components mainly rely on imports, so that domestic robot manufacturers bear pressure. "First, the waiting period is long. Even after the cash is settled, the goods will have to wait at least seven or eight months, or even longer. Secondly, the price of parts and components exported from Japan to China may be twice or three times the price sold to domestic enterprises, which pushes up the cost of domestic robots. Li Qian, deputy general manager of Suzhou Green Harmonic Drive Technology Co., Ltd.

Song Xiaogang introduced that in recent years, the core components produced by some domestic manufacturers have been able to basically meet the demand in terms of accuracy, stability and technical level.

Taking the reducer as an example, as the representative of precision machinery industry, the technical threshold of the reducer is high, which puts forward extremely high requirements for processing technology, processing equipment, assembly technology and detection accuracy.

RV reducer and harmonic reducer are two kinds of reducers most used by industrial robots. Green Harmonic Company's harmonic reducer won the "China International Industrial Exposition Award" at this year's trade fair. The reducer is a bit like a human joint. "RV reducer is like leg joint, which is rigid and placed in the position of heavy load, such as base and arm, while harmonic reducer is flexible and generally placed in the position of arm, wrist or hand." Li Qian said.

Li Qian introduced that the company's products are not only widely used in domestic self-brand robots, but also have entered the international market. "Seven of the top 10 collaborative robots manufacturers in the world are already using our products. We are expected to sell about 150,000 pieces this year, of which the proportion of exports is expected to exceed 30%.

In terms of the proportion of domestic core components in the use of self-brand robots, Song Xiaogang said, "The controller is about 60%; the servo motor is about 70%; the reducer is on the low side, about 40%. At present, the service life, reliability and noise of domestic core components still lag behind the international level, and the pace of catching up is expected to accelerate in the next few years.

CRIA and IFR data show that the market share of autonomous brand robots in major industries is on the rise in 2018. Among them, 30.1% in the electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing industry and 13.8% in the automotive industry, which are 2.5 and 3.3 percentage points higher than the previous year respectively. The application industry has also continued to expand, covering 47 industries and 126 industries in the national economy.

The China Robot Industry Alliance predicts that the sales of industrial robots in China will increase by about 5% in 2019, and the sales of autonomous brand industrial robots will increase by about 15%.