Stunning robotic technologies are eye-catchers in quite a few Hollywood blockbusters. In the real world, futuristic robotic technologies are already making inroads in electronics manufacturing.
As the PC peripheral industry is constantly pressured to reduce costs, Rapoo has decided that robots and automation technologies must be the key in the production lines. Now Rapoo has downsized its workforce from 3,000 in 2011 to the present 1,000, but output has increased threefold.
According to the CEO of Foxconn, the electronics manufacturing giant is planning to add one million industrial robots to its assembly line, achieving total automation in electronics assembly. Other leading manufacturers including Airmate and Huawei also are deploying robots and implementing automation technologies.
Given increasingly demanding requirements by the electronics manufacturing industry, NEPCON China, known as the No. 1 electronics event in China, has set up a designated zone specifically targeting automation technology. According to Reed Exhibitions Assistant VP Huang Zhaojun, the year 2013 may be the starting point of mass deployment of industrial robots.
Automation as the natural choice of better productivity
David Wolf, a strategic information dissemination expert based in Beijing, believes automation is a good evolution trend and China will sooner or later embrace a new productivity upgrade like the United States already has experienced.
Higher labor costs are believed to be a key reason of automation technologies deployment in electronics manufacturing. In recent years, China has seen frequent labor shortages in certain regions. Higher wages coupled with economic slowdown squeezes company profitability. Labor-intensive industry players are hurt even more severely. In this connection, there has emerged a consensus among electronics manufacturers to deploy more automation technologies to reduce labor intensity and improve working conditions.
An electronics automation machine can replace more than 20 workers. Through automation technology upgrade, company workforce has reduced from 1,280 in end 2009 to some 400 while annual output has increase 20 percent. Automation has demonstrated real benefits for labor-intensive companies.
Automation equipment will be a key highlight during the upcoming NEPCON China 2013. Director Wang of SMT Division, Pegatron Shanghai, hopes to procure SMT automation products to replace human labor. Mr. Ji, program officer with production division, Guoji Electric Shanghai, hopes to see robotic arms, transmission technologies and equipment, linkers, sensors, etc., in the hopes of replacing human labor with automation equipment along assembly and packaging lines.
Other companies that are highly interested in automation technologies include Nanjing Panda Electronics, Sihai Electronics Kunshan and Pegatron Corporation.
A wave of automation upgrade in electronics manufacturing
With more and more electronics manufacturers concerned about costs and interested in productivity, a wave of automation upgrades is expected in the industry in the next few years.
According to Huang Zhaojun, with increasing demands, the platform offered by NEPCON China will play an increasingly important role with more participating manufacturers featuring more products every year.
NEPCON China 2013 will demonstrate cutting-edge industrial automation technologies in electronics manufacturing, including robotic and motion control equipment, automation equipment and accessories, transmission equipment, tools, assembly equipment and materials, quality assurance, laser equipment, and more.
Leading automation exhibitors that have confirmed their participation in the event include Kuka, Fanuc, Hiwinny, SICK, etc. They will highlight a range of products including highly flexible mini robots, high-speed assembly robots, industrial robot modules and intelligent sensors.
Over the past few years, electronics manufacturing has seen rapid growth. Now China has become a key automation equipment market. Given increasing human labor costs, the demands for automation technologies will gradually grow. Wide adoption of robot systems is expected to take place in 3-10 years.
Now the robots are sure to come…
For more details about NEPCON China 2013, visit www.nepconchina.com.