Automation technology accelerates the development of the industrial robot industry. In order to maintain and improve productivity, the manufacturing industry accelerates the introduction of unmanned and industrial automation technology. Industrial robots have become a long-term rigid demand.
The pneumonia epidemic (COVID-19) still rages in many countries and regions, and it has derived three trends that will affect the lives and work patterns of human beings around the world in the future. One is that in today's era of globalization, no country can stand alone. Observing that many countries have experienced the most basic anti-epidemic materials such as masks and respirators under this epidemic, their own countries must have the ability to produce independently to maintain a safe supply of down-wave or other incoming epidemics.
Moreover, global multinational companies have also realized that after the US-China trade war and the epidemic hit the original supply chain, they must adjust their production bases and supply chains established for many years. Third, due to the isolation and flow restrictions imposed by the epidemic, the manufacturing and service industries will accelerate the introduction of unmanned and industrial automation technologies to maintain productivity. Robots are still a long-term rigid demand.
Automation is valued to accelerate the recovery of the industrial robot industry
In 2018, 422,271 industrial robots were installed globally (an increase of 10.8% compared to 2017). Industrial robots are mostly used in Assembly / Disassembly, Handling Operations / Machine Tending, Welding / Soldering. These three items account for 73.4% of the total installation of multi-joint industrial robots (the number of industrial robots as of the end of 2018). From 2010 to 2018, the global industrial robots grew by more than three times (121,000 units in 2010; 422,000 units in 2018). The top three applications in the manufacturing sector are automobile-related industries (29.7%), electrical and electronic industries (24.9%), and machinery and metal industries (10.3%).
Due to the sluggish investment in machinery and equipment, including robots, caused by the friction in the US-China trade war, the volume of global industrial robot installations in 2019 decreased by 14% compared with 2018. Looking forward to the follow-up, the stabilization of the auto parts market, the demand for 5G telecommunications equipment, the advent of new consumer electronics products, and the trend of automation demand will all contribute to the recovery of the application of industrial robots. However, the number of installations in 2020 will still be sluggish.
The 2019 US-China trade war has initiated a wave of manufacturing outbound. The demand that was originally expected to recover from the second quarter of 2020 was delayed by the pneumonia epidemic. The epidemic also highlighted the risk that the global manufacturing supply chain is highly dependent on a single country. The US-China trade war and the impact of the epidemic have caused companies to accelerate the introduction of automation equipment, and the scope of robot applications has gradually expanded. In the medium and long term, it is used to decentralize production, solve the costs of manpower and manual transportation, and reduce manpower variables. Will still be the most important consideration for manufacturing. The epidemic has driven companies to pay attention to automation issues, and industrial robots are a long-term rigid demand.
Automated guided vehicles even have their own brands. Many electronics companies in Taiwan are gradually transforming from the production of consumer electronic products, stepping out of the traditional foundry, and developing more value-added smart machinery fields through diversified business methods; robotics and smart manufacturing are both the focus. The US-China trade war and the pneumonia epidemic will not slow down Taiwanese investment in research and development. They will also see other production bases and the establishment of potential businesses in new markets as a layout option.
Intelligent storage system and autonomous mobile robot
E-commerce has brought about changes in the global retail industry. New retail is a battle of logistics, money flow, and information flow. High-performance and intelligent warehousing systems are the key to victory. It is expected that warehousing systems will accelerate the transition from automation to intelligence. In addition to AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) and AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robots), the development of commercial companies also requires intelligence the construction of the storage system.
Taiwanese manufacturers who are determined to develop intelligent storage systems are establishing a complete system service supply chain for the current small and diverse industrial automation upgrades. In addition to the domestic market, the main growth momentum will come from the introduction of automation in production units, intelligent e-commerce warehousing, and mainland China, the needs of the United States and developing countries. In the post-epidemic era, the key factors for building an intelligent storage system with key technologies are powerful intelligent scheduling technology, high-efficiency intelligent storage, and transportation technology, and high-value service solutions that can attract traffic. Among them are several core technologies that are worth studying:
- Goods allocation logic: Predictive distribution technology that combines incoming and outgoing forecasting technology and commodity relevance allocation storage space.
- Spatial sensing positioning technology:
- Use mechanical positioning + vision to correctly control the self-propelled vehicle (<5cm).
- Use SLAM (Simultaneous localization and mapping) mode with ceiling features for positioning and navigation.
- Using visible light positioning technology for error compensation to improve accuracy and stability.
- Human-machine collaborative path planning algorithm: using optimized, multi-objective parallel scheduling guidance algorithm to provide the best scheduling and path planning for people and self-propelled vehicles. As the warehousing industry begins to introduce autonomous mobile robots in the existing working environment, the problem of how employees and robots divide labor and how to improve the efficiency of on-site operations has also arisen; human-machine collaboration will still play a key role, and human-machine collaboration Model creation flexible logistics center will be the most suitable model for Taiwan's SME warehouse transformation.
The development trend of AGV is to gradually evolve into an AMR that is flexible, flexible, and capable of independent and autonomous navigation. The way of walking on a fixed magnetic stripe track will gradually evolve into autonomous walking that does not require a magnetic stripe track. The feature of AMR is to use Lidar to achieve Guided by external markers, it establishes a dispatch system with central dispatch and cloud control, and has the ability to work with personnel (security) and the ability to communicate with external devices (WiFi-6, 5G).
AMR itself will also add sensors to perform AI functions, such as vision sensing technology combined with AI solutions; it has gradually become similar to the human eye. Under the trend of smart manufacturing, the combination of machine vision and robots has emerged. Will be widely introduced into industrial applications such as factories and warehousing. After the impact of the epidemic, what is needed for small and medium-sized enterprises is the integration of flexible robot production units into existing manufacturing processes. The traditional AGV is upgraded to AMR, and the benefit can be increased by more than 40%. Such applications will become the mainstream of factory intelligent applications.
AMR equipped with robotic arms is used in factories to carry out material handling and develop smart warehousing. Carry out goods picking in the store, carry out luggage in the restaurant, deliver meals, and assist customer service. Carrying out the transportation of items in the hospital, it is possible to enter the household market in the future, serving as housekeeping, cleaning, and nursing. The global market size of AMR-related hardware and software is estimated to reach US$1.87 billion in 2025, with a CAGR of 20% during 2018-2025.
5G+WiFi communication technology empowers the wisdom of robots
Research shows that more than 70% of business managers worldwide believe that a high degree of networking will create more possibilities for business operations. It is not only the industrial manufacturing industry but also the digital transformation of the service industry to interact with customers through social media, mobile communication technology, and various sensors. Digital empowerment is required before the digital transformation, which will promote the development of communication technology, blockchain, and edge computing technology.
The number of connected devices in the factory continues to increase, and digital information with high speed, low latency, and high load is continuously derived, such as Digital Twin, fully cloud-controlled robots, fully immersive AR (Augmented Reality) factory remote applications, and The comprehensive and transparent supply chain management model is the layout technology of the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry in the post-epidemic era.
In recent years, in European and American telecom and industry-related exhibitions, in addition to IoT, Cloud, Platform, and Manufacturing Execution System (MES), 5G is the most concerned topic. 5G mobile broadband technology will have an impact on the global mobile communications industry and consumers. In addition to being faster than the existing 4G mobile broadband, it will provide various applications with high social and economic value in the future to create a super-connected and interconnected society. That is, smart technology + 5G will create value in the application industry; the integration of 5G with basic technologies such as control, vision, and sensing can derive other general-purpose technologies or enhance the performance of existing smart technologies. Through the integration of smart manufacturing technology and 5G, it is expected to realize application scenarios in many fields and provide a platform for various industrial scenarios.
It is estimated that between 2020 and 2035, the global investment in the 5G/6G industry chain will reach US$3.5 trillion. These investments will create an output value of more than 20 trillion U.S. dollars in various application industries. The global manufacturing industry can derive market size of more than 15 trillion US dollars due to 5G applications. 5G technology has been seen as a key technology to support the transformation of smart manufacturing, it can connect widely distributed and scattered people, machines, and devices to build a unified Internet and move towards smart manufacturing. 5G technology helps the manufacturing industry get rid of the chaotic applications of wireless communication in the past, and has a positive effect on the implementation of the industrial Internet and the transformation of smart manufacturing.
The three strengths of 5G: large bandwidth, low latency, and massive connections exactly meet the needs of traditional manufacturing smart manufacturing transformation for wireless network applications, and can meet the application requirements of device interconnection and remote interaction in an industrial environment. 5G technology plays a key role in industrial applications such as the Internet of Things, industrial automation control, logistics tracking, industrial AR, and cloud robots. The possible scenarios of 5G applications in manufacturing are as follows.
- Automated control: 5G can provide a network with an extremely low time extension, high reliability, and mass connections, making it possible for closed-loop control applications to be connected through a wireless network. For example, the delay of 5G can be as low as 1ms, the downlink rate can reach more than 1GMbps, and a cell can support a maximum of millions of connections. Then, after the automation control is executed in the cloud, it can continuously measure each sensor in the control cycle of the system via the 5G network, and it becomes possible to transmit the measurement data to the controller for control execution.
- Production visualization: 5G technology can transmit data at a speed of more than 1Gbps per second in the 3.5GHz or 28GHz (National Communications Commission NCC Interpretation Frequency Band) frequency band. With this technology, it takes only one second to download a high-quality movie bell. In this way, real-time monitoring of the scene can be achieved.
- Remote maintenance: The low latency of 5G is almost synchronized with the remote equipment and production, and the equipment can be overhauled and maintained through the remote. The current remote collaborative and decentralized design also has a time delay. After the large-scale application of 5G in the future, this time delay is almost negligible.
- Industrial AR: In the 5G environment, augmented reality AR requires less than 20ms to transmit from the cloud to the AR display content. It will play a more important role in the production process of smart factories in the future. For example, monitoring process and production process, production task allocation guidance, manual assembly process guidance, remote expert collaboration support, etc.
- Logistics tracking: 5G can dynamically track a wider range of goods in transit, especially in areas that are particularly strict with temperature control, such as the transportation of medicines with strict storage temperature requirements, and provide online monitoring and tracking.
- Cloud robot: 5G's network slicing technology can provide end-to-end customized network requirements for cloud robot applications. Powerful network capabilities can greatly meet the challenges of low latency and high reliability of cloud robots.
In addition, looking back 20 years ago, the WiFi standard 802.11B network speed was 11Mbps to WiFi6 network speed was 9.6Gbps, an increase of nearly a thousand times. There is also Wi-Fi 6 technology that achieves high speed, low latency, and low deployment cost. It is expected to be used in factories in a complementary manner with 5G technology. The scenario is high-speed and large-bandwidth 5G because of its signal penetration. The power is weak, and it is used for signal transmission outside the factory. Wi-Fi 6 is an excellent choice for indoor network access, especially where more users use access points. The 5G+WiFi smart factory can not only strengthen the process, but 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are both built on the same basis and coexist to support different use cases. In the 5G era after the epidemic, WiFi6, which can complement 5G technology, is still valued. Become the choice of the factory's internal wireless network.
In the post-epidemic era, companies are forced to review the supply chain, management model. In order to avoid over-reliance on a single country, international companies will use a decentralized management system to actively establish dual-platform manufacturing bases; as the production process changes, small and medium-sized enterprises will be affected. In other words, what is needed is flexible automation to reduce the investment scale of smart manufacturing; the integration of robot production cells into existing processes, especially the development of smart storage systems and autonomous mobile robots, and 5G and a new generation of Wi-Fi communication technology will empower the wisdom of robots, industrial robots are still a long-term rigid demand.