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机器人行业增长迅猛,中国独占鳌头

Jonathan Vanian 2017年02月07日

去年对机器人行业来说是个好年景,销量创历史新高。

行业组织机器人工业协会周二发布的一份报告显示,2016年北美企业订购了35000台机器人,较2015年增长了10%。与此同时,去年北美地区订单销售额也创下历史最高,达19亿美元,超过了2015年18亿美元的纪录。

“我们还真没见过这种景象。” 机器人工业协会首席执行官杰夫·伯恩斯坦表示。

2015年汽车行业采购了超过20000台机器人和零部件,是行业繁荣最主要的推手。食品和消费品工业、电力、塑料行业以及生命科学企业也是主要客户。

总体来看,去年北美地区机器人出货量近31000台。美国企业订购了27000台,加拿大2700台,墨西哥4700台。

伯恩斯坦解释说,负责在工厂生产线上放置和拾取物品的机器人最受欢迎。紧随其后的是包装机器人,再之后是切割锻造材料的机器人。

伯恩斯坦表示,虽然近年来机器人价格有所下降(或刺激销量增长),但企业购置机器人的主要原因还是同行竞争,加快生产速度提高生产率。随着技术进步,机器人可以更准确地判断在仓库中所处位置,避免伤害到一同工作的人类,也是行业繁荣的重要原因。

不过,北美地区在应用机器人方面并非走在最前列。机器人工业协会并不跟踪北美以外的机器人订单数量,但伯恩斯坦表示,“中国是应用机器人方面速度最快的”,欧洲企业也动作迅速。

伯恩斯坦同时担任另一个机器人行业组织——国际机器人协会的理事,会整理全世界范围内的订单和交货情况。不过该组织尚未公布2016年的数据。

但根据之前的报告,2015年中国独占鳌头,面向该国的机器人出货量达69000台,其后是日本的35000台和韩国的38000台。

机器人工业协会市场分析总监亚历克斯·施坎尼表示,协会不预测未来出货量。但他表示过去四年中,北美地区机器人市场年均增长率近13%,预计未来变化不大。

不过伯恩斯坦也提醒道,美国机器人市场与汽车制造商关系密切。每当汽车行业推出新车型,就会购入更多机器人和相关设备。

“汽车行业增速放缓时,投资也会随之下滑。”伯恩斯坦表示。 (财富中文网)

作者:Jonathan Vanian

译者:夏林

North American businesses ordered 35,000 robots in 2016, a 10% increase from 2015, according to a report on Tuesday by trade organization Robotic Industries Association. Meanwhile, sales on those orders in the region reached an all-time high of $1.9 billion last year, beating the previous record set in 2015 of $1.8 billion.

“We really haven’t quite seen anything quite like this,” Robotic Industries Association CEO Jeff Burnstein said.

The automobile industry, which took shipment of over 20,000 robots and their components in 2016, is partly driving the boom. The food and consumer goods industries, electronics, plastics, and life sciences were also big customers.

Overall, manufacturers shipped nearly 31,000 robots in North America last year. U.S. companies ordered 27,000 robots followed by Canada with 2,700, and Mexico with 4,700.

Robots that place and pick up objects on factory assembly lines were the most popular models. Those that help with packing came next followed by ones that cut or forge materials, explained Burnstein.

Although robot prices have declined over the years, the main reason companies want robots is to better compete with each other on speed and productivity, Burnstein said. Technological advances that allow robots to better track their location in warehouses and avoid injuring humans who work alongside them are also playing large roles in the boom.

Still, North American countries are behind others in adopting robots. The Robotic Industries Association does not track robotic orders or shipments outside of North America, but Burnstein said “China is the world’s fastest growing robot user” and that European companies are also on the rise.

Burnstein is a board member of another robotic trade group, the International Federation of Robotics, that compiles worldwide statistics on robot orders and shipments. That organization has not yet released it’s 2016 data.

But according to previous IFR reports, China dominated in 2015 with roughly 69,000 robots shipped in that country, followed by Japan with 35,000 robots and South Korea with 38,000 robots.

Alex Shikany, director of market analysis for the Robotic Industries Association, said the trade group does not project future shipments. However, he said that for the past four years, the overall North American robotic market has grown nearly 13% annually, and the group does not expect any changes to that outlook.

Burnstein cautioned, however, that the U.S. robot market is tied closely to automobile manufacturers. When they introduce new car models, they invariably buy more robots and related equipment.

“When they slow down, their investments go down,” Burnstein said.

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