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China-based suppliers playing catch-up in industrial robots, says DIGITIMES Research

Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: DIGITIMES

In order to reduce its dependence on imports, China, the largest industrial robot market, has been developing a local supply chain, thereby increasing the market share of local brands to more than 30%.

According to DIGITIMES Research, China-based suppliers have increased their market share in key components for industrial robots in China, especially servo motors, harmonic reducers, and controllers. Reducers, servo motors, and controllers contribute to 70% of industrial robot costs.

Jin Pai, an analyst of DIGITIMES Research, said that except for rotate vector reducer (RV reducer) that still needs to be imported, China-based industrial robots providers are increasingly sourcing locally-made harmonic reducers, control systems, and servo motors, thereby helping them lower their costs and increase market share from 28% in 2020 to 31% in 2021 in China.

RV reducer, which is more high-end than a harmonic reducer, is used in heavy loads such as big arm and shoulder, while the harmonic reducer is used for lighter loads such as the wrist. Meanwhile, after receiving commands from control systems, servo motors, or servo systems, allow for precise control of rotary or linear movement of a robot.

According to Pai, thanks to locally-sourced key components, China-based articulated robot providers own an 11% market share in the light-weight industrial robot and a 10% share in the heavy-weight industrial robot market. Aubo had a 33% market share in China's collaborative robot (cobot) market in 2020. China-based industrial robot providers, including Inovance and Adtech, accounted for 13% of China's SCARA (selective compliance assembly robot arm) market for the same period.

China issued a 14th five-year plan for the robot industry, which aims to double its robot density (units per 10,000 employees) from 246 in 2020 to 492 in 2025. According to data from the International Federation of Robots, China accounts for more than half of the world's industrial robot market and has overtaken the US in robot density in 2021, with 322 robots installed per 10,000 employees compared with 274 in the US.

Robots installed per 10,000 employees in 2021

Economy

desntity

Economy

desntity

Korea

1,000

Denmark

234

Singapore

670

Netherlands

224

Japan

399

Italy

217

Germany

397

Belgium and Luxemberg

198

China

322

Austria

196

Sweden

321

Canada

191

Hong Kong

304

Czech

168

Taiwan

276

Spain

167

US

274

France

163

Slovenia

249

Finland

161

Switzerland

240

Source: IFR, December 2022

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