To create the Chinese's own high-end machine tools has become an urgent proposition of the times.
Although the output value of Chinese machine tools ranks first in the world, the localization rate of high-end machine tools is extremely low: in 2018, the localization rate of low-end CNC machine tools in China was about 82%, the localization rate of mid-range CNC machine tools was about 65%, and the localization rate of high-end CNC machine tools was only about 6%.
Machine tools are inseparable from national transportation. Machines that make machines, from small screws to large aircraft carriers, are inseparable from machine tools. As a lifeline industry related to the national economy, machine tools have also been included in the list of technologies that are blocked and suppressed by some developed countries.
How can Chinese machine tools that are "pressed" in the low-end of the world's industrial chain advance to the high-end?
01. High-end machine tools are getting more and more expensive and harder to buy
At the Academician Conference of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the 10th National Congress of the China Association for Science and Technology in 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that starting from the urgent and long-term needs of the country, we should focus on oil and natural gas, basic raw materials, high-end chips, industrial software, crop seeds, The key core technologies in scientific experiment instruments and equipment, chemical preparations and other aspects have been fully tackled.
At the 2018 Academician Conference of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences three years ago, General Secretary Xi Jinping also pointed out that bottlenecks such as industrial mother machines, high-end chips, basic software and hardware, development platforms, basic algorithms, basic components, and basic materials are still prominent.
From being listed as a technical bottleneck to withdrawing from the list of key core technologies, it reflects the important breakthroughs in the development of Chinese machine tools in recent years.
"After a series of evaluation and certification by experts, we believe that our machine tool level has exceeded the level of South Korea and Taiwan to some extent. It can be said that our overall level has entered the second echelon in the world." Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Equipment Industry Luo Junjie, director of the first division, said in a speech at a recent public forum.
However, he also said that the current situation in which high-end machine tool research and development has weak basic technology and core functional components has not been fundamentally changed. In addition, technological product barriers represented by the Wassenaar Agreement severely restrict China's industrial transformation and upgrading and the development of high-end industries.
At present, the supply of my country's machine tool industry is still dominated by low-end products, the supply capacity of low-end products is obviously excessive, and the supply of high-end products is obviously insufficient. According to the "Analysis of the Competition Pattern and Development Prospects of China's CNC Machine Tool Industry in 2019" released by the Prospective Industry Research Institute, in 2018, the localization rate of low-end CNC machine tools in my country was 82%, and localization was basically achieved; the localization rate of mid-range CNC machine tools was 65%. , at a relatively low level; the localization rate of high-end CNC machine tools is only 6%, mainly relying on imports.
The import dependence of high-end machine tools has caused two problems to become more prominent:
First, high-end machine tools are becoming more and more expensive.
According to data from the China Machine Tool Industry Association, since 2013, the import unit price of high-end CNC products has risen by about 20%. Another data shows that in 2020, the average price of high-end machine tools exported from Switzerland to China has exceeded 510,000 US dollars, equivalent to 3.3 million yuan. According to estimates, if the machine tool is sold in terms of kilograms, the price per kilogram of Swiss machine tools is 10 times that of my country's exported machine tools.
It is worth mentioning that even though the price of imported machine tools has been soaring, the market demand has not declined but increased. Especially in the past one or two years, my country has faced a large number of machine tool upgrades, and the import demand has increased greatly. According to data released by the Japan Machinery Industry Association, China's total machine tool orders in 2020 reached 172 billion yen, accounting for 33% of its overseas orders.
Second, high-end machine tools are becoming more and more difficult to buy.
Recently, some media sources said that the United States asked Switzerland to stop exporting high-precision machine tools to China. Switzerland is one of the main importing countries and regions of my country's machine tools. From January to November 2020, China imported a total of 305 CNC machine tools from Switzerland. Although only 3.94% of the total imports, Swiss machine tools are widely used in key fields such as aerospace and military manufacturing in my country, which are closely related to national security. Once the supply of Swiss machine tools is "broken", the crisis of "stuck neck" is imminent.
02. High-end machine tools are getting more and more expensive and harder to buy
In the global market, the machine tool market has long been occupied by Japan, Germany and the United States. my country's machine tool enterprises are in a situation of high-end loss, mid-end competition, and low-end melee in the market.
According to the analysis of interviewed experts, there are three main reasons why domestic machine tool products cannot enter the high-end market:
First, the technology is backward, and the application is also backward.
The backwardness of my country's machine tool industry began in the 1990s, and the backwardness of CNC technology is the key to the backwardness of my country's machine tool industry technology. Domestic CNC machine tools started late, the foundation is relatively weak, and there is a big gap between technical reserves and overseas technologies, especially for high-end CNC machine tools, Japan's Fanuc and Germany's Siemens almost monopolize the market. According to the "2019-2025 China CNC System Industry Market Research and Development Prospect Forecast Report", these two companies have a market share of up to 80% in the mid-to-high-end CNC system industry. They have key technologies to control high-speed and high-precision machining. The product can be better matched with the machine tool. The development of CNC system technology in China can not fully meet the application of high-end machine tools.
The research report of GF Securities shows that for high-end CNC machine tools, from the perspective of the development of domestic high-end CNC machine tools and supporting supply chains, except for some parts of five-axis linkage CNC machine tools that have "stuck necks", other high-end CNC machine tool components and CNC systems. Localization can basically be achieved, but the machining accuracy and reliability of some core key components are insufficient and the functions of the CNC system are relatively backward. The performance and quality of localized CNC machine tools cannot reach the level of foreign advanced enterprises for the time being.
Second, the aggressiveness is not strong, and the enterprising is also weak.
"Buying is worse than making" is the development logic of some domestic machine tool companies. The research and development of high-end CNC machine tools is a typical "high input and low output". For technological innovation, enterprises generally have a fear of difficulty and fear of high-end technology, which also leads to the lack of initiative in technological innovation of domestic products, and generally does not have high-end breakthroughs. technical strength.
The low-end CNC machine tool industry has a low threshold, the number of machine tool companies continues to increase, and the industry homogeneity is more serious. Statistics from China Machine Tool Industry Association show that in 2011, the number of metal cutting machine tool enterprises was 1,070, with an output of 403,935 units, but by 2013 it had reached 1,264, an increase of 18.1%, and the annual output could reach 858,100 units, compared with 2011. An increase of 112.4%. Enterprises gather at the low end, resulting in excess production capacity and greatly weakening the profitability of the industry. Enterprises have long been locked in the low-end from technology to products.
Since 2012, the overall market size has shrunk, the profitability of domestic companies has dropped significantly, and some companies are already in a state of loss. Due to the continuous downturn, the output value of industry enterprises generally fell by about 20% in 2013. Profitability is not strong, and investment in research and development will be limited.
The third is insufficient attention and insufficient support.
Experts said that the machine tool is the most important tool of a big country, and various countries will attach great importance to the development of the machine tool industry. Some machine tool powerhouses even give preferential policies to their industrial development, and even directly give meticulous and thoughtful policy protection. For example, Japan had the "Machinery Industry Promotion Act" in 1956, and machine tools ranked first. The US Department of Defense has also given excessive subsidies to the country's machine tool companies.
In my country, although the development of machine tools has a glorious history, there are obvious "faults". According to a relevant person from the Industry and Information Bureau of a city in Northeast China, the Chinese machine tool industry established under the planned economic system has too many restrictions on the system and mechanism. In the fierce competition of globalization, it has fallen into a situation of overall decline time and time again. Especially in the era of CNC machine tools, the emphasis on the CNC machine tool industry has declined, and the emphasis on industrial development is not enough. Special planning, etc., but the support is still obviously insufficient, and at the same time, it lacks pertinence, and the effect is reduced.
03. High-end machine tools are getting more and more expensive and harder to buy
Recently, General Technology Group Machine Tool Co., Ltd., jointly invested by Tianjin State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and China General Technology Group, completed the industrial and commercial registration in Tianjin. General Technology Group is the "Pearl" of the national machine tool industry. The development of high-end CNC machine tools is listed as its first core business. The establishment of the machine tool company is considered to be the key to the high-end breakthrough of domestic machine tools.
In the opinion of the interviewed experts, my country's machine tool industry needs to fight a systematic battle to achieve high-end breakthroughs. In short, it is necessary to highlight the key tasks in these three aspects:
The first is the homing of basic research.
In the era of planned economy, a large number of scientific research institutes have been established in my country, and these research institutes have made outstanding contributions to the development of my country's machine tool and other equipment industries. However, with the restructuring of the institutes, these scientific research institutes have also been devolved, which has brought about two problems: one is the transformation of the scientific research system, and my country's industrial innovation system has appeared faults and deficiencies in the market economy environment; the second is going to the market. In recent years, many scientific research institutes have become profit-making institutions competing with enterprises, further weakening the power of basic research.
The practice of some developed countries abroad is worth learning from. For example, Germany, Belgium, Japan, etc., all have special technology innovation centers. Through the two-way connection between the needs of enterprises and the basic technology of universities, the needs of enterprises continue to promote the maturity of basic technologies, and at the same time, enterprises complete the last mile of productization. It has also realized the feedback of basic research, and the high maturity and marketization of basic research has helped the big country in the machine tool industry to build a strong technical reserve. my country's machine tool industry is moving towards high-end, and it is necessary to lay a solid foundation for basic research. Therefore, it is necessary to fully relocate scientific research forces in basic research.
The second is the card position of large and small enterprises.
In the view of Guan Xiyou, the former chairman of Shenyang Machine Tool, it is the inevitable path for the development of my country's machine tool industry that large enterprises lead innovation and drive the development of industrial clusters.
"Domestic machine tool factories should focus on high-end breakthroughs, and if we want to build a strong manufacturing country, we should list key enterprises, which should be managed by the state and undertake national tasks." Guan Xiyou said that small and medium-sized enterprises that make money from manufacturing should honestly engage in manufacturing , but industry leaders like Shenyang Machine Tool must always stand at the forefront of innovation to lead the industry.
According to experts, the leading machine tool enterprises represented by state-owned enterprises should focus on technological innovation, conquer key core technologies, and seize the main position in the industry. In fact, key domestic machine tool enterprises, including Shenyang Machine Tool, have made some fruitful efforts.
For example, Shenyang Machine Tool increased its product structure adjustment in 2013, strategically exited the field of ordinary machine tool production, and concentrated its efforts on breaking through high-end CNC machine tools and their key functional components. The CNC rate of machine tool output value increased to 61%, reaching the highest point in history.
At the same time, it is necessary to give full play to the advantages of small and medium-sized enterprises, so that small and medium-sized enterprises can become important supplements of great powers. In recent years, the rise of a number of private machine tool enterprises in the south has opened up a new path for the high-end development of my country's machine tool industry. These enterprises are in sharp contrast with the large state-owned enterprises in the north. They focus on the development of a single model of machine tools, or even only focus on design and integration, and take advantage of the supply chain to outsource other businesses. The strong competitiveness of the link. Driven by market forces, private enterprises have torn apart the space for survival in the high-end machine tool market.
The third is the replacement of core users.
The development of domestic high-end machine tools is lagging behind. To a certain extent, the biggest problem is not backward technology, but the absence of the market. For a long time, domestic users have generally been afraid or unwilling to use domestic high-end machine tools. Those who dare not use them are mainly concerned about the technology and service of domestic high-end machine tools. If they don’t want to use them, they are because the price advantages of domestic high-end machine tools are not obvious compared with foreign brands, and there are still deficiencies in compatibility and stability.
With the emergence of the "stuck neck" problem, the security and autonomy of the supply chain have been paid more and more attention at the enterprise level. Therefore, many enterprises actively or passively give up their dependence on foreign machine tools, which also provides a new opportunity for the application of domestic high-end machine tools.
The replacement of core users will play a key role in the technical improvement and market development of domestic machine tools. For domestic high-end machine tool enterprises, the next step is to strengthen communication with core users, enter more and more enterprise users, establish positive interaction with enterprise users, and accelerate the process of localization and substitution of high-end machine tools.