China will become a competitive market for co-robots

2020-05-11 15:00:34
With the increasing number of participating enterprises and the increasing demand for flexible manufacturing, co-robot have become a new favorite in the industry. Despite the "unsatisfactory" situation of the traditional industrial robot market as a whole, the sales volume of China's co-robot market continues to grow.

Traditional industrial robot giants have also increased their presence. At this month's international robotics show in Japan, for example, fanuc, one of four industrial robot families, unveiled its latest co-robot. But co-robot may not be over yet, and human-computer collaboration may be the next new growth point in the robotics industry.

"What we're seeing is a very clear trend where more and more companies are focusing more and more on applications, not just robots." Vendors of co-robot arm terminal tools point out that this trend requires terminal tools to be flexible enough to support a large number of different applications with one product.

Co-robots are the new darling of the industry

Three trajectories of robot development, robot is undergoing the transformation from "machine" to "human". From the historical development, it can be seen that the appearance of the first generation of traditional industrial robots has not changed significantly in the past 50 years. The second generation of robots has a certain sense ability, with visual, tactile, auditory and other functions, such as co-robot. The third generation of robots rely on artificial intelligence for planning and control, can think, identify and reason independently according to the perceived information, and can automatically complete judgment and decision-making without human intervention, thus becoming the main body of the production system.

After the industrial robots took the lead, co-robot were designed to work together in a common workspace. Unlike traditional industrial robots, industrial robots need to be installed with safety measures and human isolation. Co-robot are flexible, safe and easy to program, and can share work Spaces with workers while taking full advantage of people and machines.

As of April 2020, the number of global co-robot manufacturers has exceeded 100. In the second half of 2019, although the overall industrial robot market was "cold", the annual sales volume of China's co-robot market still achieved a growth rate of nearly 50%, which was higher than the overall growth rate of China's industrial robot market.

The challenge of co-robot

Although the overall rate of development is fast, the total number of co-robot is still small. According to global robot 2020 data released by the international federation of robotics, the annual installation of co-robot increased by 23 percent in 2019, but its share of the industrial robot market remains low at 3.24 percent.

The current market faces two major constraints and challenges. One is that as many as 80 percent of potential customers have not heard of the co-robot concept, and the industry still needs a lot of time and effort to educate potential users.

Secondly, compared with large enterprises with complete positions of automation engineers, some small and medium-sized enterprises lack relevant professional talents and need more personnel training and perfect after-sales service to better promote the landing of products. Enterprises must change their communication methods.

At the same time, factories often use more than one machine for production to save costs, and robots are often assigned to other applications after completing a single application. Wang feng, general manager of Onbot China, said, "if there is no unified interface, it will be a waste of time to replace different terminal tool systems." Now many EOAT suppliers are scattered, grip is the hand to grasp, rapid change is rapid change, suction cup is suction cup, vision is vision.

Compared with traditional industrial robots, the development of software interfaces and related technologies for co-robot is more complex. "Collaborative applications are more about software," wang told reporters. "a good collaborative application is one that solves both hardware and software problems at the same time. Therefore, providing simpler programming applications through the integration of software and hardware can help open up the market for co-robot.

Wang said he wants to become a "one-stop, plug and play" provider of solutions. With unified interface and protocol standards, Integrator can provide complete solutions faster and more efficiently, and avoid incompatibilities between products and software and protocol exclusion. So far, the company has completed the transformation of many robot manufacturers, including fanuc, yaskawa, kuka, yoo and so on. , multiple brands of robots can plug in and play the company's products.

The Chinese market is a competitive place

China will remain the world's largest industrial robot market in 2020, accounting for 36 per cent of total installed capacity, according to IFR. Although sales in China's industrial robot market declined for the first time in 2019, annual sales topped the list for the sixth consecutive year.

Automobile industry and 3C industry are two downstream industries of industrial robots. Falling sales in the automotive and 3C industries have reduced demand for robots since last year.

In September this year, facing a short-term market challenge, production will be slowed, but this will not change its long-term objective. At the same time, there will be no slowdown in expansion plans, and China is a very promising growth market.