China saw a sales increase of 41.17% for industrial robots catering to its red-hot lithium-ion battery industry in 2022, a high-profile study revealed recently.
According to a research report by GGII, an industry-focused market researcher, of all the industrial robots deployed to lithium battery making, six-axis robots sold 15,050 units while 12,825 SCARA robots found their buyers last year.
This is the first time in years that six-axis robot sales has outstripped that of SCARA robots in the lithium battery segment.
The change in proportion resulted mainly from a market boom of EV battery packs, coupled with dwindling demand for lithium batteries from the 3C industry.
In the lithium sector, six-axis robot and SCARA robot are the two most-used types of robots in manufacturing. SCARA robot is primarily utilized in building batteries for 3C clients.
By contrast, six-axis robots are used more often in the production of EV power batteries, mainly in mid-to-late stages such as module and pack assembling, involving material handling, gluing, stacking, welding and examination.
According to data from GGII, in 2022 China’s lithium battery market hit 100 billion yuan (US$14 billion), up 70% year on year. At the same time, lithium battery shipment rocketed 100.31% to a capacity of 655GWh.
Graphics and data courtesy of GGII
In recent years, China’s burgeoning EV sector and the resulting boom of lithium battery market have been a major driver behind the surging sales of homegrown AMRs.
GGII published statistics earlier, showing that mobile robot sales driven by the lithium segment totaled 10,263 units in 2022, 50.07% higher than the previous year.
However, the GGII study also identifies a number of constraints that hold back the domestic AMR domain.
One of the biggest hurdles is the increasing homogenization of products.
Besides, the use of mobile robots has been concentrated mostly in the early-to-late stages of application scenarios, says GGII.
Applications have become quite mature both in the case of customized and standardized models, as they become more alike in the hardware part.
For domestic AMR manufacturers, the way out of the predicament lies in shifting their core competitiveness from hardware to software, the study explains.