The ingenuity of robots is a sign of strength

The ingenuity of robots is a sign of strength

A visitor inspects an industrial robot at the booth of Siasun Robot & Automation Co. during an industrial fair in Shanghai in September 2020. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Intelligent automation market is booming, giving space to showcase manufacturing strength

Robotics technology has grown rapidly in recent years, incorporating emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and 5G. It also promotes new products and new applications that can promote global economic development and people’s well-being.

The China Robotics Industry Development Report 2022, released in August by the China Institute of Electronics, estimates that the global robotics market will reach $51.3 billion in 2022, with an average annual growth rate of 14 percent from 2017 to 2022. It is expected that the market size will exceed Global robotics $65 billion by 2024.

“The robotics industry is an important symbol of a country’s technological strength and advanced level of industrialization,” Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Jin Chuanglong, said at the 2022 World Robotics Conference held in Beijing in August.

Jin said that the robotics industry, along with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G and new biological materials, is entering a key period of strategic opportunities for development and upgrading.

Robots, an important tool for promoting digital transformation and promoting the digital economy, said Wang Hong, deputy director of the First Equipment Industry Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, is accelerating its integration into production and people’s daily lives. The industry has shown great development potential.

Wang said China has basically formed a whole industry chain ranging from robot parts to robot applications. “In the first half - while the development of the robotics industry slowed down due to COVID-19, it gradually accelerated.”

Officials said that despite challenges, such as the complex and bleak international environment and pressure from the COVID-19 outbreak, China’s robotics industry has experienced significant growth.

China’s industrial robotics sector achieved a record high output of 366,000 units in 2021, up 67.9 percent year on year. Production of service robots jumped 48.9% to 9.21 million units last year.

The institute’s report expects the robotics market in China to continue to thrive this year. The market is expected to reach $17.4 billion in 2022, with a five-year average annual growth rate of 22 percent. The industrial robots market is set to be worth $8.7 billion, and the service robot market is set to be worth $6.5 billion.

The production of industrial robots, supported by a series of supportive policies and the rapid development of emerging technologies, is growing rapidly and playing a major role in promoting the advancement of the industry.

Many Chinese industrial robotics companies are seeing a rebound in demand for their products, as customers such as new companies in the energy industry ramp up their production amid better containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new energy industry is at a springboard for the growth of robotics applications, said Zhang Li, vice president of Siasun Robot & Automation Co., one of the largest robotics companies in China.

Zhang said that China has seen a growing demand for industrial and mobile robots from the rapid development of new energy, and Siasun is involved in the process. “Our mobile robots have been widely used in the factories of major new energy companies.”

Zhang said the decline in industrial robot production in the first half was mainly due to the disruption caused by the epidemic, which has slowed all sectors of society, and led to a shortage of components that affected delivery.

But with the gradual normalization of activities and better containment of the epidemic, Zhang said he expects to see a marked rebound in the production of industrial robots in the coming months.

“China is by far the largest robotics market in the world in terms of annual sales and operational inventory,” said Milton Guerry, former president of the International Federation of Robotics. IFR is a non-profit professional organization based in Germany.

Guerre said the IFR’s robot density statistics, which are based on the number of industrial robots per 10,000 employees, is a useful indicator of China’s dynamic development.

According to the IFR report, the density of robots in China ranks ninth in the world with 246 industrial robots per 10,000 employees, while five years ago it was 25th globally with 49 units per 10,000 employees.

Chen Yu, partner at Chinese venture capital firm Yunqi Partners, said he has seen a surge in demand for robots in industries and labor-intensive industries that are likely to expose employees to high risks. “Few people like to work in these industries. Robots also have huge advantages over people in terms of standardization, safety and intelligence.”

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