Tuesday, June 14, 2016

CORRECTION: Robots are not threatening manufacturing industries - Chinese subsidies are!

Recent headlines made dramatic claims that the inevitable robot conquest of the world had begun when Foxconn, the enormous Chinese electronics manufacturer, installed 60,000 robots. Followup stories like this one from Bloomberg news ultimately clarified that the robots had not displaced any manufacturing jobs at Foxconn, and the news frenzy only highlighted a bigger problem with Chinese manufacturers. It's a problem all too common with many Chinese manufacturing sectors: government subsidies, designed to grow an industry, frequently spawn poorly made products by fleeting get-rich-quick business owners.

"...Inevitably, that kind of loose money attracts the wrong kinds of people. According to the Economic Observer, an independent newspaper, scams to snag subsidies are proliferating. Many companies with little or no experience in robotics are receiving huge handouts that appear to accomplish little more than pad their bottom lines. One firm in Nanjing said that robot subsidies accounted for 65 percent of its net profit in 2015.

And yet all this isn't doing much to boost China's homegrown robotics industry. Eighty-five percent of the robots sold in China are foreign-made, while those produced domestically are largely reliant on foreign components. China is especially far behind in producing the low-cost robots that would help smaller manufacturers struggling with rising labor costs. As the Economic Observer put it: "Most companies that include 'robot' in their name have virtually no sales at all."..."  excerpt from Bloomberg View news story ( read full story here: http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-09/china-has-a-robot-problem)
The notion that robots may replace manufacturing jobs is not the real problem here. 
The greater concern is that flimsy Chinese robotics companies are popping up to claim a share of the government subsidies without solid knowledge of the technology or industries they serve. Manufacturers like you with legitimate interests in deploying robot-assisted manufacturing beware: the sudden robot bubble in China may burst when subsidies are removed from the equation, leaving you with a poor piece of equipment with no hope for service or future development.

If you have a real interest in utilizing robotics in your mattress manufacturing process, contact GSG first. We have been developing practical robotics solutions for mattress producers for nearly a decade. Take a look at the following video for a few examples:

Here's another GSG product, the MB-45 pick and place robot, designed to load a mattress factory glue line:

Robotics obviously have a firm footing in manufacturing and great prospects for the future. GSG would be glad to consult with you when planning all your advanced manufacturing operations. We already have industry-specific background in factory automation and you know we'll still be around for you long after the Chinese robot bubble bursts.

No comments:

Post a Comment