In the huge injection molding plant, the plastic raw materials are automatically operated by various machines to turn into molded air-conditioning parts. Each manipulator puts the finished product on the conveyor belt to the packing area, and the handling robot shuttles various goods in the plant. , And employees just stand at the end of the production line and pack finished parts...
This is a scene in the Gree air-conditioning injection molding plant in Zhuhai, southern China. Here, machines and people have been completely separated. Machines that used to be operated by humans can now complete a series of process operations alone, and humans are only responsible for the final packaging.
"Since last year, through the use of robots and automation transformation, our plant has achieved the goal of reducing staff and increasing efficiency. The number of staff has been reduced from over 300 to over 100, while production efficiency has increased by 20%." Cheng Hailiang said.
This is part of this air-conditioning manufacturer’s ambitious production process automation transformation. Not only the injection molding plant, but also robots and automated production equipment in other plants are gradually being introduced. The company has proposed to achieve 70% automated productivity by 2015.
China's manufacturing industry is undergoing a slow but profound change: the massive use of industrial robots.
According to data released last month by the International Federation of Robotics, headquartered in Germany, a total of 37,000 industrial robots were sold in the Chinese market in 2013, nearly three times the number in 2012. China has not only become the world's largest robot market, but also the fastest growing market.
In Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta region, the government has proposed that more than 80% of the city’s manufacturing enterprises apply industrial robots and intelligent equipment by 2020.
In Dongguan, known as the "World Factory", a sample survey organized by the government shows that in the past five years, a total of 66% of the companies in the city have invested in the "machine substitution" work, and 92% of the companies said they will continue in the next two years. Increase investment or prepare to carry out related work.
In recent years, China’s labor market has changed, and there is widespread dissatisfaction with workers in factories in developed coastal manufacturing areas. On the other hand, China's manufacturing costs have also been rising.
Many companies regard "machine substitution" as a way to reduce production costs. Among the enterprises in Dongguan that have already carried out "machine substitution", statistics show that half of the enterprises have saved more than 10% of production personnel, and 20% of enterprises have saved more than 30% of production personnel.
For many small and medium-sized enterprises, popularizing the use of industrial robots also faces a major challenge: huge investment costs. Wu Xinyu, a researcher at the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who has been tracking the development of the robotics industry for a long time, said that currently 70% of China's robots are produced by foreign manufacturers, and the price of robots remains high.
Wu Xinyu said that the application of industrial robots in China is still at a preliminary stage. In the future, industrial robots may set off a new industrial revolution. The manufacturing costs of countries with technological advantages will drop significantly, while China’s manufacturing cost advantages may be further compressed. Therefore, it is imperative for China to vigorously develop and apply industrial robots.
"At present, the average density of industrial robots in the world's manufacturing industry is 55 units per 10,000 employees, while the use density of industrial robots in China is only 21 units per 10,000 people, which is much lower than that of developed countries. China is still a relatively backward country in industrial automation in the world. With the advancement of industrial automation, there is still a lot of room for growth in the industrial robot market in the future." Wu Xinyu said.