China's robotics industry moves towards mid- and high-end

(People's Daily Online) 14:00, August 30, 2023

A painting robot is pictured at the World Robot Conference 2023 in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 17, 2023. The World Robot Conference 2023 is held from Aug. 16 to 22 in Beijing. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

China's robotics industry has been moving towards mid- and high-end in recent years, with the country becoming a front runner in terms of some robot technologies and applications of robots.

An expo of the World Robot Conference 2023 (WRC 2023) in Beijing not long ago showcased the latest robot industry exhibits and cutting-edge robot technologies.

Nearly 600 exhibits from 160 robot companies from home and abroad were displayed at the event, of which 60 debuted. This year's WRC included 10 exhibition areas featuring robot-related application fields such as manufacturing, agriculture, commerce and trade, logistics, and healthcare, as well as one exhibition area for key spare parts.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed that industrial robots have been widely adopted in 168 industries of 60 major categories in China so far. The country has been the world's largest consumer of industrial robots for nine consecutive years.

China's output of industrial robots reached 443,000 units in 2022, an increase of more than 20 percent year on year, and the industrial robot installations in the country accounted for more than 50 percent of the global market share. China's output of service robots neared 6.46 million units last year.

A fruit-picking robot attracted the attention of visitors at the WRC 2023. The robot can identify the level of ripeness of fruits according to their color, and monitor the growth of fruit trees to estimate the yield of fruit.

Experts said the rapid development of service robots in recent years could be mainly attributed to the development of artificial intelligence, which makes service robots smarter.

At the WRC 2023, four industrial robots demonstrated their precision by welding a white car at the exhibition booth of Shenyang Siasun Robot and Automation Co., Ltd. based in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province.

"The automotive assembly line requires the precise, efficient, and reliable operation of several welding robots without faults. Due to industrial barriers, automotive spot welding was long monopolized by foreign robotics companies," said Ma Cheng, a manager with Shenyang Siasun Robot and Automation Co., Ltd.

Ma added that based on the company's self-developed software systems, it has emerged as an industry leader in terms of spot welding effectiveness and efficiency, and nearly 100 spot welding robots produced by the company have been deployed in several domestic automobile manufacturers.

China's robotics industry has generally established an industrial chain system that covers robot bodies, spare parts, and integrated applications, said Wang Huan, director of the policy research and international cooperation center of the Chinese Institute of Electronics.

At this year's WRC, a robot speed reducer attracted wide attention. The self-developed robot speed reducer made breakthroughs because China had relied on imports of high-precision robot speed reducers.

In recent years, Chinese robot makers have also overcome many difficulties in key core components such as control systems and servo motors, gradually improving the localization rate of robots. Among them, core components such as harmonic speed reducers and RV reducers have entered the supply chain systems of leading enterprises in the world.

China has secured the top position globally in terms of the number of robot-related patent applications filed for several consecutive years, Wang added.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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