Due to strong global demand for industrial robots, industrial robot companies have increased their production in China. KUKA, a unit of Chinese home appliances giant Midea Group, will set up two new plants in China and plan to increase its production capacity in China to four times the current level by the end of 2019. Demand for industrial robots in China has exploded due to rising labor costs and the intensification of manufacturing policies, and China is rapidly emerging as a "robot factory."
KUKA expand capacity in China
November 30 StefanLampa, CEO of KUKA Robotics, accepted an interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
In addition to Germany, KUKA also has a factory in Shanghai, China. First of all, the second plant will be put into operation in Shanghai in January 2018, raising its annual production capacity to 25,000 units, which is now twice the annual production capacity. After that, it will set up a new factory in Guangdong by the end of 2019 to increase its annual production capacity in China to 50,000 times the current 4 times. The amount of investment has not been announced, but it is estimated at around 10 billion yen.
StefanLampa said "I hope to get the robot needs of the automotive industry in Shanghai and the robot needs of the motor and electronics industries in Guangdong." After the new factory is put into operation, in addition to China, it will also export to other Asian countries. It is also planned to continue to increase the production capacity of German factories (currently with an annual capacity of 40,000 units) and to increase the total annual production capacity to more than 100,000 units by 2020.
KUKA 2017 is Midea Group's revenue. As a condition of the acquisition, Midea promised to retain the existing management of KUKA and maintain the independence of KUKA until 2023.
StefanLampa said: "China is a big country and it is very difficult to open up the Chinese market from scratch. Midea has a vast sales network in China and will expand sales and service with the support of Midea."
StefanLampa said that after 2023 "the United States for consumer products such as home appliances sales, KUKA-oriented enterprises to provide products such as robots division of labor structure will not change." Denied that the United States will intervene in the operation of KUKA.
On the other hand, the planned cooperation with the United States on the development of new technologies "has started to consult on the cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI)".
According to the forecast by the International Robot Union, the global sales of industrial robots will substantially increase by 77% over that of 2016 by 2016. Among them, China's sales are expected to soar to 2.4 times. In China, the manpower shortage in the manufacturing industry is prominent due to the rising labor costs and the declining birthrate of young children caused by the one-child policy. In addition, the Chinese government's proposal of strengthening manufacturing industry has also prompted enterprises to speed up the introduction of industrial robots.
Japanese industrial robot manufacturers not far behind
China is the "largest market" for industrial robots, and Japanese companies are also constantly launching offensive. Yaskawa Electric Co., Ltd. not only started to increase output in its Chinese factories, but also officially started its cooperation business with Midea Group. Intends to put the two sides jointly developed nursing rehabilitation robot vigorously on the market, and is committed to the factory automation system for export. Yaskawa Electric Co., Ltd. President Ogasawara said: "We will continue to cooperate with our partners in the future."
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Fuji Vietnam have also decided to implement a yield increase in factories in China. FANUC, which makes only robots in Japan, plans to invest 63 billion yen to build a new robotic plant in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Swiss company ABB intends to increase the global production capacity of industrial robots more than twice in the next 1-2 years. According to reports, ABB in Europe and China and other regions have a factory, plans in the future continue to increase production capacity.
On the other hand, although Chinese manufacturers are also stepping up the digestion and absorption of technology, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. executive director of Precision Machinery Company Robotics Center Makoto Hashimoto that "the strength gap between Japanese and European manufacturers in recent years will not Shrink ". In Chinese enterprises, small and medium-sized manufacturers increased sharply. Per Vegard Nerseth, global president of ABB's robotics business, said: "(The result of intense competition) will lead to the consolidation of enterprises, and only a few may eventually survive."