NEWS AND MARKETS A promising location for an industrial automation show A fast growing market now and in the future In “good old Europe”, there have recently been rumours about the declining growth of China´s economy. This has to be put right, i.e. put into relation with other economies. In 2014, China has achieved an economic growth of “just” (so the critics say) 7.3 %. For 2015, 7 % are forecasted. This might be less than in previous years. But the world´s biggest economy, the USA, have achieved a mere 1.88 % and were much acclaimed for that, whereas Germany could raise the GDP by just 0.54 %. Automation increases productivity Gerald Scheffels The capital of the world´s No 1 in manufacturing and of the world´s biggest robot market: This, in short, characterises Beijing as a promising location for an industrial automation show. Not to mention the enormous amount of manufacturing sites in the region which more and more look for sophisticated automation solutions. When talking about China´s most successful economic regions and “boomtowns”, usually the fast-growing megacities like Shanghai and Shenzhen are in the focus of attention. It should not be neglected, though, that the capital Beijing, located in the northeast, is among the most developed and prosperous cities. The municipality alone stands for 3.43 % of the country´s total gross domestic product (GDP; in numbers: US$ 314 billion, in 2013), and it is populated by more than 21 million inhabitants. This might be enough reason to expect healthy business for the international automation industry. But there are, from the viewpoint of automation, even more good arguments for focussing on China. As wages and the standards of living are rising, employers are intensifying the trend to automatise manual work that can be done by machines and robots. The simple reason: They have to remain competitive to other countries where wages are lower. The quick development from “low tech” to “high tech” intensifies this trend. Automation, this is true for all branches of industry, not only increases productivity. It is also an important pre-requisite for the mass production of high-quality goods, it is the target of China´s economy policy. The world´s biggest robot market Just a few examples: In 2013, China´s electronics industry has produced 1.6 billion smartphones, and it is the world´s biggest manufacturer of notebooks. These are products that are manufactured with the help of automated production lines. For this reason, Author: Gerald Scheffels, specilized journalist, Wuppertal, Germany AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 3/2015
NEWS AND MARKETS Foxconn – China´s biggest private employer – is apparently developing own robots. Rumours say that 10,000 “foxbots” shall populate the Foxconn sites in due time. This is less than a third of China´s total yearly robot market (and, by the way next to nothing in relation to Foxconn´s more than 1.2 million employees). In 2013, 35.560 units were sold – a significant increase of 60 % in comparison to the year before. But these figures show that industrial robots are in strong and increasing demand, and this is also true for other types of automated factory equipment. Meanwhile, European manufacturers like Kuka have set up factories in China. When Kuka´s local robot production started, it already had acquired orders for more than 1,300 robots. And in the first two years, production increased to a level that Kuka has just announced that it is already planning a second plant – being sure that China will be the most expansive market for industrial robots until, at least, 2020. Beijing´s industrial branches look for automation solutions Back to Beijing: In the last years, the municipality achieved to relocate resource intensive production sites. On the other hand, the output of more sophisticated (and automated) industries like automobile and aerospace production, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, and food processing was rising. All these branches are currently striving to utilize industrial automation technologies in their production. The “Industrial Automation Beijing” show is prepared to show them directions, solutions and products for this goal. On the show: Big players and smaller specialists A wide scope of customer potential The exhibitors are addressing to a wide scope of visitors. There are, of course, managing directors and engineers of manufacturing companies who want to increase the productivity of their plant by using the latest automation technologies. But the exhibitors should also focus on the many North Chinese manufacturers of machine who use “built-in” automation systems as well as state-of-the-art controls, drives and sensors from international manufacturers. New fields of technology Looking at the topics of the fair, the visitor finds, for instance “Sensors and Connectors” and “Motion Control”. He also can visit the „Industrial Robot Area” and the “Industrial Robot & Automation Application Conference” which is held during the show period. Here, specialists from the Chinese robot industry and representatives from major robot manufacturers talk about the status quo and future development of industrial robots. Furthermore, there will be a showcase for “Machine Vision” systems, i.e. for the “eyes“ of high-level industrial automation. And the show will also serve, for the first time, as a platform for Additive Manufacturing technologies indicating that mass-production will not be the only way to success for Chinese industry. All in all, the North Chinese, who visit the “Industrial Automation Beijing 2015” will definitely find new ways to increase the productivity and develop new markets, new technologies which increase their competitiveness. Photographs: teaser fotolia www.industrial-automation-beijing.com The international manufacturers of automation equipment have recognized this trend. Companies like – just to name the German ones – Eplan, Harting, Phoenix, Rittal, Schmersal, Wago and Weidmuller will exhibit their product range and their novelties for advanced industrial automation. Apart from these “big players”, there are also numerous smaller, highly specialised foreign exhibitors like steute (manufacturer of high-quality switchgear and wireless switchgear) who are prepared to benefit from North China´s demand for automation solutions.
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