China is a known global superpower. With the second biggest economy in the world, you don’t need to think long enough to determine where all this money comes from. China’s economy is mainly driven by its manufacturing industry. If you look at many of the products you now have in possession, a lot of them are probably “Made in China”. But since change is the only permanent thing in this world, China is embracing this reality and will do its best to ensure that they stay on top of the manufacturing industry for a long time regardless of the changes around them.
China intends to do this with the help of industrial robots. Known for their cheap labor and harsh working conditions, the Chinese government no longer has to deal with these allegations by using robots instead of human workers. If there is a downside to this trend, though, it’s that some of the impoverished Chinese laborers will lose work to these efficient inanimate objects over time.
China is the buyer of 27 percent of the world’s industrial robots. As the country presses full steam ahead with manufacturing automation, the demand for industrial robots continues to surge. While imports constitute the overwhelming majority, the state is also promoting domestic robot manufacturers. The national program of “Made in China 2025” seeks to make China a robotics powerhouse in eight years. In the year 2015 alone, the government of Guangdong Province invested $150 billion to encourage automation and foster robotics innovation.
Ostensibly, it seems that a Chinese robot takeover is imminent, prompting one analyst to warn that China is planning “world robot domination.” But what is really going on inside China’s industrial robot industry? What are the business prospects for the world’s robotics firms? I contend China still has a long way to go in matching the technological sophistication and scale of leading global robotics companies. Nonetheless, China is an enormous market where there are billions of profits in waiting.
Automating the manufacturing industry is the solution to the rising costs and aging Chinese population. This move is especially helpful and practical when it comes to electronic and automobile manufacturing companies. Aside from ensuring an efficient operation all the time, the use of industrial-grade robots enables companies to enjoy millions of savings, mostly savings in labor costs.
Production per person increased from 8,000 pieces to 21,000 pieces, which is a 162.5% increase, and product defect rate fell from 25% to 5%—this sounds like a dream for any organisation. Well, this is a dream come true for Changying Precision Technology Company factory in Dongguan province of China which has replaced 90% of its human workers with robots. The data reflects a new form of human-robot co-working environment that will soon sweep the world.
The Dongguan company has automated production lines that use robotic arms to produce parts for cellphones. It has also automated machining equipment, autonomous transport trucks, and other automated equipment in the warehouse and number of employees have dropped from 650 to 60 and likely to come down to 20.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as China has a hugely ambitious plan to have a robot density of 150 units per 10,000 employees in the next two years, up from 36 now; and it is moving rapidly in this direction. Robotics will give a huge boost to China’s dominance of the world market with low cost robotic manufacturing replacing human labour, the cost of which is increasing every day. China has become the biggest market for industrial robots with nearly a 30% market share.
For now, China is accepting both locally-made and foreign industrial robots but their goal is to automate the manufacturing industry using domestic robots by the year 2025. Other countries like India are also using industrial robots to boost the manufacturing industry like that of China. These measures just make perfect sense considering robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning will soon be our reality rather than just concepts discussed among elite circles.
Robots are everywhere. They’re stocking shelves, pruning trees, making cocktails, delivering room service. Now they’re even showing up for work in some of the smallest factories, in a boost for manufacturing in the U.S. and a potential new threat to traditional production-line jobs.
The robotics wave began sweeping into automobile and other plants decades ago, stopping short of shops staffed with a relative handful of people. Many businesses couldn’t afford the contraptions, which weren’t designed to squeeze into tight spaces or operate very close to human beings.
Even the US has long since embraced this advanced concept and has also been using robots that many small manufacturers can now also afford. Most jobs today are at risk once the use of industrial robots goes full-scale. However, it is not always a bad thing because even though many jobs will be lost, other opportunities will open up that can compensate for the loss of work. The government should likewise look into the matter and set up contingency plans on how to help ordinary laborers who will run out of work when this happens like an alternative livelihood, so their lives don’t necessarily suffer as our technology progress.