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As mass production reaches its bottleneck, consumers are increasingly demanding individualization. Flexible manufacturing adapts to the characteristics of “mass customization” with small batches and many varieties, and has become a “new concept” in the manufacturing industry.
To meet this “flexibility” requirement, a higher level of intelligence is required in “execution”. Therefore, it is necessary to open up industrial robots, CNC machine tools, and various proprietary equipment to make them cooperate properly and complete production requirements.
As an industrial mother machine, machine tools are an important cornerstone of modern industrial development, and have developed into an industry with an output value of nearly 9 trillion yuan, releasing huge potential for localization substitution. As an important foundation of the national economy, CNC machine tools can provide equipment and means for various departments, and play an important strategic role in the current era of intelligent manufacturing and digital transformation.
In 2021, the output value of the machine tool industry will reach a peak of 28.5 billion US dollars, a huge volume, but in the face of such a huge “cake”, domestic high-end products still rely on imports, and my country’s CNC machine tool companies are mainly positioned in the low-end market.
In 2021, my country’s imports of metal processing machine tools will be US$7.46 billion, a year-on-year increase of 25.4%; exports will be US$5.32 billion, a year-on-year increase of 32.7%, and the trade deficit will be US$2.14 billion. Moreover, my country’s imports of metal processing machine tools mainly come from countries and regions such as Japan, Germany, and Taiwan. In 2021, the total import volume of the three will account for more than 70%. The high concentration of machine tool imports may bring high-end machine tool equipment and key functional components. Supply risks, while core technology may face “stuck neck” problem.
This is “exactly the same” as the status quo of the robotics industry. On the road to stepping up the realization of localization, robots and machine tools are cooperating with each other and “going to the goal” together.
Robotic enterprises enter the machine tool
In December 2021, the “14th Five-Year” Intelligent Manufacturing Development Plan clearly stated that it is necessary to develop intelligent vertical/horizontal five-axis machining centers, high-precision CNC grinding machines and other working machines. Since the second half of 2022, supporting policies have been issued more and more frequently. In September this year, the first China-led international standard ISO23218-2 for CNC system series of machine tools was officially released. At the 20th National Congress, national security was also emphasized. Prominent position, especially the independent controllability in the military field, including the independent controllability of high-end five-axis CNC machine tools for military manufacturing equipment.
At the same time, after the epidemic, the advantages of industrial automation production are obvious, coupled with the deepening of the aging of the domestic population, the continuous increase in labor costs, and the increasing demand for products related to industrial automation production. In September 2022, the output of industrial robots was 43,009 units, a year-on-year increase of 48.28%; from January to September, the cumulative output of industrial robots was 322,544 units, a year-on-year increase of 20.04%, and the year-on-year growth rate has picked up. As the process of replacing humans with machines continues to accelerate, the technology of industrial master machines combined with industrial robots and laser equipment continues to increase, which will accelerate the demand for industrial master machines.
According to data from research institutions, the scale of my country’s CNC machine tool market will grow steadily and rapidly in the future, reaching 572.8 billion yuan by 2024, a substantial increase of 113.17% compared to 268.7 billion yuan in 2021.
Due to the interoperability of the underlying technology, Topstar, a representative robot company, also established a subsidiary in the field of CNC machine tools. Its products mainly include CNC machine tools such as five-axis linkage CNC machine tools, high-speed machining centers, and CNC grinding machines, as well as Core components such as spindle, turntable, swing head, gear head, power turret, etc. It has created the technical advantages of key components such as high-rigidity spindle technology, GTRT gear-driven turntable technology, and gear-driven double swing head technology.
Huazhong CNC has also formed a series of high, medium and low-grade products, and has a new product of Huazhong 8 series of high-end CNC systems.
Robots cooperate with machine tools to assist production and manufacturing
A machine tool is a machine that manufactures a machine, that is, a machine that processes metal, other materials, and workpieces into the desired shape and size. The full name of CNC machine tool is digital control machine tool, which is an automatic machine tool equipped with a program control system. The system of CNC machine tools has the ability to process control codes or command-specified programs. Through the control signals sent by the CNC device, the operation of the machine tool is controlled, and the parts are automatically processed according to the shape and size required by the design drawings, which can better solve complex, High-precision, multi-variety parts processing problems.
As a more intelligent and digital product, CNC machine tools are usually composed of control systems, servo systems, transmission systems, detection systems, machine tool bodies and other auxiliary systems.
In the actual use scenario of the manufacturing industry, metal and plastic are the two most basic materials in the production process. Converting raw materials into products, especially large workpieces, often requires machine tools, and industrial robots are usually introduced during the processing process to complete handling and grinding. , spraying and other work, play the role of auxiliary production. In flexible manufacturing, the cooperation of the two is equally important.
As mass production reaches its bottleneck, consumers are increasingly demanding individualization. Flexible manufacturing adapts to the characteristics of “mass customization” with small batches and many varieties, and has become a “new concept” in the manufacturing industry. To meet this “flexibility” requirement, a higher level of intelligence is required in “execution”.
Therefore, it is necessary to open up industrial robots, CNC machine tools, and various proprietary equipment to make them cooperate properly and complete production requirements.
Crossing the barrier of “domestic substitution” together
Judging from the current distribution of the global CNC machine tool market, it is mainly concentrated in Asia, Europe and the United States. Among them, the global market share of China and Japan ranks first, accounting for 32%; Germany, the United States, and Italy account for 17%, 6% and 5% of the global market respectively. According to the data, the global CNC machine tool market size in 2021 will be 572.405 billion yuan. In 2021, the market size of China’s CNC machine tools will be 268.7 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 8.65%. It is estimated that the market size in 2022 will be about 295.7 billion yuan.
Robots also face the problem of domestic substitution. Due to the hollowing out of core technology, domestic substitution faces technical barriers. The core parts of the robot account for 70% of the production cost of the industrial robot body, which is the main value of the industrial chain. The reason why FANUC, ABB, Yaskawa, and KUKA have been able to dominate the industrial robot market is that they have mastered the key profit points of core components, so they have strong profitability. And some domestic brands
Whether it is a machine tool or a robot, mechatronics products are required. Precision transmission devices, servo motors and control systems are all core technologies. Expanding the industrial territory, continuously absorbing talents, developing technology, and combining local service advantages, it is expected to truly realize the import substitution of foreign brands in the future.
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