Chinese manufacturers sold 87,000 AMRs, up 28.4% year on year despite a slowing economy and the Covid-19 shockwaves, says a recent study.
According to OFweek, an industry research organization focused on automation and robotics, the market for AMRs increased 24.7% in 2022 to 11.2 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) from a year earlier.
It also forecasts the sector to expand at a rate of 30% this year.
The AMR/AGV industry got off to a slow start early last year but managed to weather the economic downturn and headwinds, largely thanks to its better-than-expected performance in some emerging application scenarios, especially new energy vehicle, lithium-ion battery and photovoltaic segments.
According to the OFweek study, as NEV manufacturing steadily flourishes, mobile robots have been applied in the four procedures of automaking, namely, giga pressing, welding, paint spraying and assembling.
AMRs or AGVs, owing to their agility, navigate factory floors, helping automate in-plant processes such as delivery of components and scheduling of workflows. This has partly supplanted human labor in material handling.
In lithium-ion battery making, mobile robots are often utilized in coating, roll cutting, die cutting, reeling and other procedures.
Through pre-programmed dispatch and motion coordination algorithms, the robots considerably automate in-factory logistics, enhance production efficiency, and lower labor costs.
Meanwhile, PV panel producers widely adopt AMRs in steps involving crystal pulling, cutting, assembling, and more. These vehicles, laden with production materials, shuttle automatically from one spot to another within the factory or warehouse, meeting customer needs to transfer large, heavy and fragile items.
The OFweek study concludes that since these use cases are usually large and scalable, AMRs in China will witness sustained growth in deployment for years to come.