With the iterative progress of computer control, electronics, materials and other technologies, the performance of industrial robot has reached a high level. But in terms of application, industrial robot has not been completely applied in all industries and sectors globally, even in developed countries. So the domestic substitution of industrial robot has a long way to go.
As the component of manufacturing industry, industrial robot has a close relation with economic laws of manufacturing industry development. So the first step to study industrial robot is to have a clear understanding of development history and trends of manufacturing industry.
Industrial robot is an important automation equipment of modern manufacturing industry, which integrates advanced technologies of multiple subjects, including machinery, electronics, control, computer, sensor and artificial intelligence. Since the birth of the world’s first industrial robot developed by U.S in 1962, robot technology and its products have quickly developed. By far, it has a history of 50 years.
With the iterative progress of computer control, electronics, material and other technologies, the industrial robot has become the automation tool of flexible manufacturing system, automation factory and computer integrated manufacturing system, and the performance of industrial robot has reached a high level.
Nowadays, with deeper and more extensive development of industrial robot and the improvement of robot intelligence level, the application scope of robot will continuously expand, from automobile manufacturing to electronics, even to all kinds of non-manufacturing industries, such as mining robots, construction robots and maintenance robots of hydropower system.
By far, the United States has best performance in robot technology innovation, and Europe and Japan are the main suppliers of industrial robot. They have even realized the complete independency of core parts including sensor, controller and precision reducer. But in terms of application, industrial robot has not been completely applied in all industries and sectors globally, even in developed countries.
Besides, the continuous growth of economy, the promotion of urbanization, especially the development of domestic internet and mobile internet deeply activates the terminal consumption business ecology, and consumer have more and more high requirements on product’s function, quality, differentiation, diversification and personalization, which puts forward higher requirements on commodity manufacturing chain and industrial robot.
With the rising of labor cost and upgrading of economic structure, the transformation and upgrading of China’s manufacturing is also steadily progressing and “robot replacing people” has become the new phenomenon of manufacturing industry in recent years. In terms of market size, China has been the world’s largest market of industrial robot for many years, accounting for 30% sales of industrial robot globally and it keeps growing in high rate.
However, the competitiveness of China’s industrial robot manufacturing industry is still weak, especially in core parts. But all these are quietly changing, and the domestic substitution in core parts are accelerating. Take the harmonic reducer as example. Although the input torque, twisting height, transmission accuracy and efficiency of product have large gap with the product from Japan, the substitutable product has been made in China and the application of industrial robot has taken off.
Li Yi, the standing committee of CPPCC national committee, deputy director of the economic committee of CPPCC national committee, former minister of MIIT and president of China industry and economy league, said the technology content of our industrial robot has been gradually improving. Manufacturing enterprises have basically grasped the ontology design manufacturing technology of industrial robot, software and hardware design technology of control system, and kinematics and metro planning, especially the micro-control and micro-processing that have reached the leading level.
On the whole, China has taken breaking through robot key technology as important strategy. Domestic enterprises has conquered part difficulties in the core part fields like reducer and servo motor, preliminarily realizing the localization of controller, and the trend of core part localization is gradually obvious. In the future, China will continue to move towards the goal of great power of industrial robot.