Standing at a new historical height, “Made in China 2025”, starting from the overall strategic situation, clearly puts forward the first ten-year action plan for China to implement the strategy of making a strong country, and regards “high-end CNC machine tools and robots” as one of the key areas to be vigorously promoted. 1. It is proposed that the development of the robot industry should “focus on the needs of industrial robot applications such as automobiles, machinery, electronics, dangerous goods manufacturing, national defense, chemical, light industry, and medical and health, household services, education and entertainment and other service robot applications, and actively research and develop new Products, promote the standardization and modular development of robots, and expand market applications. Break through the technical bottlenecks of the robot body, key components such as reducers, servo motors, controllers, sensors and drivers, and system integration design and manufacturing technologies.” And technology in key areas The innovation roadmap clarifies that the development focus of China’s robot industry in the next ten years is mainly in two directions: First, develop the industrial robot body and key component series products, promote the industrialization and application of industrial robots, and meet the urgent need for transformation and upgrading of China’s manufacturing industry Demand; the second is to break through the key technologies of intelligent robots, develop a batch of intelligent robots, and actively respond to the challenges of the new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation.

High-end CNC machine tools and robots are one of the key areas of the strategic plan for the powerful country

1. Demand-oriented, enhance innovation capabilities, and expand market applications

According to different application environments, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) divides robots into two categories: industrial robots in a manufacturing environment and service robots in a non-manufacturing environment. Industrial robots are the general term for robots used in industrial production and are important factory automation equipment in modern manufacturing; service robots are non-productive robots that serve humans. Service robot technology is mainly used in unstructured environments with complex structures. , Can obtain information about the external environment based on its own sensors and through communication, so as to make decisions and complete corresponding tasks.

China has become the world’s largest industrial robot market, and the potential is still to be tapped

Industrial robots mainly refer to multi-joint manipulators or multi-degree-of-freedom robots oriented to the industrial field, which are used for handling, welding, assembly, processing, painting, and clean production in the industrial production process. In 2014, the global sales of industrial robots hit a record high, reaching 225,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 27%. The driving force for market growth mainly comes from the Asian region, especially China and South Korea.

In recent years, the demand for the Chinese robot market has grown rapidly, and it has become an important market for global robots. In 2014, China’s sales of industrial robots reached 56,000 units, an increase of 52% year-on-year, making China once again the world’s largest industrial robot market. Users have developed from wholly foreign-owned enterprises and Sino-foreign joint ventures to domestic-funded enterprises and even small and medium-sized enterprises. Many enterprises in the developed coastal industrial areas in China use their products for export, and demand high product quality. More and more enterprises use robots to replace industrial workers. In the Pearl River Delta region, the average annual growth rate of the use of industrial robots has reached 30%. Especially in the fields of assembly, dispensing, handling, welding, etc., there has been an upsurge in the use of robots.

Although China has been the largest market for industrial robots in the world since 2013, the density of industrial robots in the manufacturing industry is still very low. In 2013, the density of industrial robots in China was only 30 units per 10,000 industrial workers, which is less than half of the global average level. South Korea (437 units/10,000 industrial workers), Japan (323 units/10,000 industrial workers) and Germany (282 units/10,000 industrial workers) have a larger gap. The domestic industrial robot market still has huge potential.

As a big manufacturing country, China has always been in a backward position in the application of industrial robots. Except for the automobile industry, the application of robots in the general manufacturing industry with a large volume and a wide range is basically in a spontaneous, scattered or scattered state. With the development of factory automation in China, industrial robots will also be rapidly promoted in other industrial industries, such as electronics, metal products, rubber and plastics, food, building materials, civil explosives, aviation, medical equipment and other industries.

The degree of application of industrial robots is an important indicator of the level of industrial automation in a country. The development of China’s industrial robots should focus on accelerating the development needs of China’s intelligent manufacturing, and cooperate with the supply and demand of robots, on the one hand, to improve the innovation capabilities of Chinese robot manufacturing enterprises, promote the standardized, modular and systematic development of robots, reduce the cost of use, and improve integrated applications. On the other hand, actively carry out pilot applications of self-branded robots, grasp a number of typical application demonstration projects with outstanding effects, strong driving force and high relevance, and promote the use of industrial robots to transform and upgrade traditional manufacturing. Industry.

China’s service robot industry should be demand-oriented and develop in a focused manner.

Service robots include dedicated service robots and household service robots. Service robots have a wide range of applications, mainly engaged in maintenance, repair, transportation, cleaning, security, rescue, monitoring, medical care, elderly care, rehabilitation, and assistance for the disabled. Service robots are a new type of intelligent equipment, a strategic high-tech product, and will have a larger market space than industrial robots in the future.

Global service robots have shown rapid growth in the past five years. According to the statistics of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the global sales of professional service robots and personal/home service robots reached 21,000 and 4 million units in 2013, respectively, with a market value of US$3.57 billion and US$1.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 4 % And 28%. In the next few years, the global service robot market will continue to grow rapidly. With the major breakthroughs in mutual learning and sharing of knowledge cloud robotics technology, small household assistive robots have greatly reduced production costs, and will form an emerging market of at least 41.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2020; on the other hand, although assistive machines for the disabled start slowly, But it can be predicted that there will be rapid growth in the next 20 years.

At present, the international technical research and development of service robots is mainly led by the United States, Japan, China, Germany, and South Korea. The development of China’s service robots lags behind that of industrial robots. Compared with Japan, the United States and other countries, China’s research and development in the field of service robots started late, and the absolute gap with developed countries is still relatively large. However, compared with industrial robots, the gap between domestic and foreign is relatively small. Service robots generally need to be developed in combination with specific demand markets. It is easier for local companies to develop in combination with specific environments and cultures to occupy a good market position, thereby maintaining a certain competitive advantage. On the other hand, foreign service robots are also emerging industries. Most service robot companies have been established in a relatively short period of time, so China’s service robot industry is facing greater opportunities and room for development.

From the perspective of development trends, China’s professional service robots are expected to be industrialized before personal/domestic robots, especially medical robots and dangerous special environment inspection robots. As China enters an aging society, the demand for medical care, nursing and rehabilitation has increased, and at the same time, people’s pursuit of quality of life will make personal/home robots have a broader market space in the future.

2. Break through the technical bottleneck and enhance the ability of industrialization

The robot integrates modern manufacturing technology, new material technology and information control technology. It is a representative product of intelligent manufacturing. Its research and development, manufacturing, and application have become important indicators to measure the level of scientific and technological innovation and manufacturing in a country. highly valued.

The development of China’s robotics industry can be traced back to the 1980s. At that time, the Ministry of Science and Technology included industrial robots in the scientific and technological research plan. The former Ministry of Machinery Industry took the lead in organizing research on industrial robots of spot welding, arc welding, painting, and handling. Other ministries and commissions also actively initiated projects to support, forming the first climax of China’s industrial robots. After that, mainly due to market demand, the independent research and development and industrialization of robots experienced a long-term stagnation. After 2010, China’s robot installed capacity has been increasing year by year, and it has begun to develop towards the entire robot industry chain.

The development of the robot industry includes R&D and testing, the industrialization of robot bodies and parts, system integration technology, and services. Each link is very important. The development of China’s robot industry chain is a long way to go. On the whole, most of China’s robot companies are currently concentrated in the field of integration, with processing and assembly companies accounting for the majority. In terms of original research on core and key technologies, high-reliability basic functional components, system process application solutions, and mass production of mainframes, there is still a considerable gap from developed countries. In terms of key components, a large number of key components such as precision reducers, servo motors and drives rely on imports. Although the state has also made large investment support in this area for many years, the original market size and degree of industrialization were not high enough to drive the development of core components, resulting in unsatisfactory results.

It can be seen that the lack of China’s robot technology has restricted the scale of industrialization, and the small scale has in turn restricted the development of technology, all of which have affected the process of robot industrialization. If you want to improve the market competitiveness of domestic robots, on the one hand, it is necessary to expand the output of domestic robots and increase the production capacity of domestic robot companies; on the other hand, it is necessary to promote the localization of key parts of domestic robots, increase the production capacity of key parts, and meet the needs of domestic robots. The need for capacity expansion.

In the past two years, the country has attached great importance to intelligent manufacturing and robots. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Science and Technology are all pushing for the development of the robotics industry. The development of the autonomous brand robotics industry has been promoted from the top-level design, finance, taxation and finance, demonstration applications, and talent training. The supporting policies have become more comprehensive and detailed. change. The roadmap of China’s robotics industry and related work in the “13th Five-Year Plan” of the robotics industry are also advancing steadily. This will greatly promote China’s robotics companies to break through the technological bottleneck and improve their industrialization capabilities.

At present, for China’s robotics industry, it is no longer a question of paying attention or not paying attention, but a question of how to look at the industry and what kind of thinking to cultivate and develop this industry in an orderly manner. Regarding the robot industry’s market demand, technological innovation model, funding support and other issues, local governments’ support policies for the industry are expected to be refined.

3. Accelerate the R&D and production of next-generation robots and seize the next commanding heights in robotics and industrial development

With the development of robot technology, robots are divided into general robots and intelligent robots according to their different functions. Among them, general robots refer to robots that only have general programming capabilities and operating functions. At present, most of the robots produced in China fall into this category; there is no unified definition of intelligent robots. Most experts believe that intelligent robots must have at least the following functions feature:

  • One is to have the ability to adapt to uncertain operating conditions;
  • The second is to have flexible operation capabilities for complex objects;
  • The third is the ability to closely coordinate and cooperate with others;
  • The fourth is the ability to interact with people naturally;
  • Fifth, it has the safety features of man-machine cooperation.

Whether it is a modern industrial robot or a service robot, it will eventually develop into an intelligent robot with learning ability. We generally refer to intelligent robots as next-generation robots. With the continuous advancement of 3D visual perception/cognition, force sensor and other technologies and the in-depth integration with the new generation of information technologies such as the industrial Internet, cloud computing, and big data, the intelligence of the next generation of robots will be further improved, and the Perception capabilities will be further enhanced to complete dynamic and complex missions, achieve multi-machine collaboration, and work in collaboration with humans.

In order to further seize the international market and enhance the competitive position of the manufacturing industry in the world, various economic powers are eager to try and formulate development plans one after another in an attempt to seize the development opportunities of advanced robotics. At present, the German government is pursuing the “Industry 4.0” strategy, building “smart factories” and building “smart production”. One of its key topics is the interaction and cooperation between humans and machines, and between machines and machines. The United States proposed the “Roadmap for the Development of Robots in the United States” in 2013, which will focus on the manufacturing industry to overcome the highly adaptable and reconfigurable assembly of robots, human-like dexterous operation, model-based integration and supply chain design, autonomous navigation, and non-structural Key technologies such as the perception of the environment, education and training, and the intrinsic safety of robots working with people. In early 2015, the Japanese government announced the “New Robotics Strategy in Japan”, and in its five-year action plan, it clearly stated that it would “research and develop technologies such as data terminalization, networking, and cloud computing to be implemented in the next generation of robots.” The South Korean government has successively issued a number of policies in recent years to support the development and application of third-generation intelligent robots. In 2012, South Korea announced the “Future Robotics 2022”. The focus of its policy is to support Korean companies to enter the international market and seize smart The first opportunity for the industrialization of robots. With the vigorous advancement of the United States, Japan, Europe and other technological powers, next-generation robot prototypes, demonstration applications, and even practical systems have continued to emerge in the past five years.

From the current point of view in China, the demand market for next-generation industrial robots is not yet fully mature, but the research and development and reserves of strategically significant common technologies are particularly urgent. The current development of China’s next-generation robot industry should first focus on consolidating the technological foundation of the robot industry, focus on promoting the industrialization of existing robots, and speed up the promotion and application of self-owned brand robots in the domestic market. Explore new technology research and development models, encourage scientific research institutes and enterprises to use their respective advantages, and establish a national platform for the cutting-edge, common technology research and development and reserve of next-generation industrial robots. Starting from China’s national conditions and needs, break through the core technology of next-generation robots. Develop next-generation robot prototype systems and products, and promote the industrialization process to seize the international commanding heights of next-generation robots. For robot products used in different fields, different development strategies are implemented: on the one hand, with the enterprise as the core and supported by the common technology platform, giving priority to the development of next-generation industrial robots, promoting the docking of production and demand, and seizing the commanding heights of development; on the other hand, with Market-oriented, grasp the characteristics of domestic demand, and develop service robots for medical care, elderly care and disability assistance, and special robots that operate in special service environments.

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