Automation China: China's automation market will see a real boom

Author Stéphane Itasse

BChina is already the most important market worldwide for automation products. Nevertheless, industry in China has an extremely low degree of automation. In a new study, the consulting firm Stieler Technologie- und Marketingberatung (STM) expects that the total segment of industry automation will increase by about 15% every year from 2015 to 2020.

With respect to the low level of automation of the Chinese industry, the boom has just begun for the providers, expects a new study.
With respect to the low level of automation of the Chinese industry, the boom has just begun for the providers, expects a new study.
(Photo: Kuka)

Thus the market volume will almost double in the coming five years. Advisers expect highest growth rates in the business of 3D printers, sensors, optimization software and robots and the largest nominal gains in sensor technology, robots and drives.

The proportion of Chinese companies is increasing in the automation market

China is still greatly dependent on foreign know-how in some areas of automation technology, say advisers. However, in the next few years China will increasingly map out its own course in the field of automation. Companies largely unknown beyond China’s borders will codetermine this development.

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Chinese manufacturers of automation technology could have continuously upgraded their share in the entire industry automation market in the past four years: Their share increased from 40% in 2010 to 45% till the end of this year. Based on their analyses, advisers estimate that this value will increase to over 50% by 2020.

Local automation providers in China also have advantages

Although local providers of automation systems still have some substantial deficits as regards precision, reliability and speed. In principle however, these providers are much cheaper, flexible, and closer to the customers and have shorter delivery times. Another advantage for the local suppliers is the fact that an important part of the growth to be expected must be borne by small and mid-sized companies.

According to a study the relatively large gains of local manufacturers for 3D printers, drives, robots and manufacturing execution systems. Advisers expect nominally large gains for sensors, Scada systems, drives and robots.

In 2013 itself China overtook Japan as the biggest sales market for robots. Even the automation industry has grown faster than the economy in the past few years. Simultaneously the People's Republic of China is still on an extremely low level when it comes to the level of automation: The proportion of machine tools with NC-control in China today parallels that of Japan at the end of seventies. The level of expansion of company software (PLM, ERP, and MES) is still low with 60%.

You can get a free summary of the study as a PDF and the study itself from Stieler Technologie- & Marketing-Beratung GmbH & Co. KG, Marie-Curie-Strasse 8, 79539 Lörrach. Tel. (0 76 21) 55 00 44-4