Fanuc reports more than 40 per cent increase in profits on strength of China sales

The world’s largest industrial robot manufacturer, Fanuc, says its profits have increased by more than 40 per cent as a result of strong demand from China, according to a report on Nikkei

The company is currently reporting its financial performance for the six-month period up to September.

It says its profits for the period were $750 million, which is more than a 42 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.  Continue reading Fanuc reports more than 40 per cent increase in profits on strength of China sales

Cyberdyne launches new version of its exoskeleton

 

Cyberdyne has launched the latest version of its HAL exoskeleton.

HAL, short for hybrid assistive limb, has been mostly marketed to the health sector.

The new version, HAL Lumbar, is similar to previous versions in that it reads bio-electrical signals of the wearer.  Continue reading Cyberdyne launches new version of its exoskeleton

Toyota demonstrates ‘human service robot’ of a type that may take over a lot of homes

Toyota has been demonstrating what it calls its “Human Support Robot”, a type of robot which looks likely to take over millions of homes all over the world in the next few years.

The market for this type of so-called personal assistance robot is forecast to grow very quickly over the next few years because of advances in the technology.

According to analysts at ResearchAndMarkets.com, the personal robotics market will grow by almost 40 per cent within the next five years to a total size of $34 billion.  Continue reading Toyota demonstrates ‘human service robot’ of a type that may take over a lot of homes

Yaskawa invests €4 million in production facility in Sweden, and partners with Midea in Asia

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Yaskawa facility in Torsås, Sweden. Picture credit: Yaskawa via Evertiq

Yaskawa is expanding its manufacturing operation in Sweden, according to a report on Evertiq.com.

One of the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturers, Yaskawa is investing a further €4 million into the plant at Torsås, Sweden.

The work will eventually expand the facility by 2,000 sq m and is expected to be completed by summer 2018.  Continue reading Yaskawa invests €4 million in production facility in Sweden, and partners with Midea in Asia

FemtoPrint signs up new partners ahead of important microtechnology event

Ulysse-Nardin-InnoVision-2-watch
The high-end Ulysse Nardin InnoVision2 watch, made using FemtoPrint technology. Picture via ABlogToWatch.com

FemtoPrint, which specialises in the production or printing of 3D microdevices out of glass and other transparent materials, has signed up new partners ahead of EPHJ, one of the most important microtechnology exhibitions in the industry calendar. 

FemtoPrint has reached a distribution agreement with Japan Laser Corporation and, separately, a production deal with high-end mechanical watchmaker Ulysse Nardin.

The agreement between FemtoPrint and JLC involves a commercial collaboration which will result in the commercialization of FemtoPrint products and services into the Japanese market.  Continue reading FemtoPrint signs up new partners ahead of important microtechnology event

Japan turning to robots because there’s not enough humans around

FILE PHOTO: Humanoid robots work side by side with employees in the assembly line at a factory of Glory Ltd., a manufacturer of automatic change dispensers, in Kazo, north of Tokyo
Humanoid robots work side by side with employees in the assembly line at a factory of Glory, a manufacturer of automatic change dispensers, in Kazo, north of Tokyo, Japan. Reuters / Issei Kato / File Photo

By Stanley White, Reuters

Desperate to overcome Japan’s growing shortage of labour, mid-sized companies are planning to buy robots and other equipment to automate a wide range of tasks, including manufacturing, earthmoving and hotel room service.

According to a Bank of Japan survey, companies with share capital of 100 million yen to 1 billion yen plan to boost investment in the fiscal year that started in April by 17.5 percent, the highest level on record.

It is unclear how much of that is being spent on automation but companies selling such equipment say their order books are growing and the Japanese government says it sees a larger proportion of investment being dedicated to increasing efficiency. Revenue at many of Japan’s robot makers also rose in the January-March period for the first time in several quarters.  Continue reading Japan turning to robots because there’s not enough humans around

Raspberry Pi partners with RS Components to expand manufacturing operations to Japan

raspberry pi starter kit

New manufacturing hub in Japan complements UK production operation and expands capacity for famed Raspberry Pi microcomputer

RS Components and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have agreed a deal which will see the latest iteration of the Raspberry Pi 3 credit-card-sized single-board computer being manufactured in Japan under a local contract manufacturing arrangement.

This increase in global production of Raspberry Pi is to serve large and increasing demand for the popular platform in the Asia Pacific region.

William Chong, head of product, supplier, inventory and pricing management, Asia Pacific, RS Components, says: “Existing models of the Raspberry Pi will continue to be manufactured in South Wales, UK, with the dual manufacturing locations in place to cater for future demand growth globally.

“Asia Pacific is a significant growth market for Raspberry Pi, and this new ‘Made in Japan’ element means that we are now geared up for this growth.”  Continue reading Raspberry Pi partners with RS Components to expand manufacturing operations to Japan

Yaskawa expands in China and makes plans for Brexit amid US-China trade talks

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with US President Barack Obama discussed trade earlier this week, and agreed this was a crucial time for relations between the two nations amid growing areas of competition. 

One of the business sectors being contested is manufacturing, where advancements in the crucial technologies of robotics and automation could be the factor which decides which country is more successful.

China has embarked on an ambitious plan to transform the country from the low-wage, labour-intensive workshop of world into an advanced manufacturing nation, capable of developing its own high technology, in particular industrial robots and the internet of things.  Continue reading Yaskawa expands in China and makes plans for Brexit amid US-China trade talks

Japan planning to invest billions in service robots

Japan Robot Week 2016 was hailed “a great success” by the organisers, as the event finished. 

In 2015, the Japanese government announced “Japan’s Robot Strategy”, designating the subsequent five years as a term for dedicated focus on robotics innovation.

Leading up to 2020, the government pledged to invest approximately $1 billion in robotics-related projects, aiming to expand the service robot market to $14 billion – about 20 times today’s market value.  Continue reading Japan planning to invest billions in service robots

Hitachi puts robots on trial at Japan airport

hitachi emiew haneda airport japan

Hitachi, and its subsidiary Hitachi Building Systems, have begun a trial of their “Emiew 3” humanoid robot at Haneda Airport, in Japan. 

The robot, developed by Hitachi, looks a little bit like the Nao robot, in its red colouring and dimensions.

The tests will be conducted at Haneda Airport Passenger Terminal 2 (Domestic Flights) in collaboration with Japan Airport Terminal.  Continue reading Hitachi puts robots on trial at Japan airport

Liquid Robotics and Hydro Systems deliver Japan’s first long-term ocean observation network

Liquid Ocean robotics vessel
Liquid Ocean robotics vessel

Liquid Robotics and its Japanese partner Hydro Systems Development (HSD) have delivered the first fleet of Wave Gliders to the Japan Coast Guard.

Liquid Robotics and HSD will assist the Japan Coast Guard in deploying eight Wave Gliders for a multi-year mission providing autonomous observation and situational awareness of ocean currents, wave activity, and weather along Japan’s coastlines.

This is the first ocean observation network in Japan’s history that will provide comprehensive and economical monitoring of Japan’s ocean conditions.  Continue reading Liquid Robotics and Hydro Systems deliver Japan’s first long-term ocean observation network

Tokyo airport employs Cyberdyne cleaning robots

cyberdyne robots tokyo airport

Tokyo International Airport’s International Passenger Terminal is employing a cleaning robot made by Cyberdyne. 

Following its implementation in the Domestic Terminal, the Cleaning Robot will expand its operation into the International Terminal, which is also open 24 hours a day.

This is a joint-project of Cyberdyne and Japan Airport Terminal Company, and with the cooperation of Tokyo International Airport (also known as Haneda Airport).

Verification tests for the Cleaning Robot are being conducted at the International Passenger Terminal for 2 weeks, a time frame which is due to end soon.  Continue reading Tokyo airport employs Cyberdyne cleaning robots

Rethink Robotics signs up 10 new partners in eight months

Rethink Robotics’ Baxter and Sawyer collaborative robots
Rethink Robotics’ Baxter and Sawyer collaborative robots

Rethink Robotics says it has reached partnership agreements with 10 separate companies in seven different countries in the past eight months.

Rethink, which makes collaborative robots it gives human names like “Baxter” and “Sawyer”, recently arranged inaugural global channel partner summit in Boston which was attended by more than 30 of its partner companies.

The companies discussed market trends in the rapidly growing collaborative robotics industry at the summit, which was the first meet of its kind for the group. Continue reading Rethink Robotics signs up 10 new partners in eight months

Japan leader promotes robot revolution at G7 Summit

g7 japan shinzo abe
Japanese prime minister and robot fanatic Shinzo Abe, centre, shows off autonomous cars made by Japanese companies

Local automakers take G7 Summit opportunity to show off new autonomous car technology 

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe claims autonomous car technology will be safer than the human motorists of today, according to an official translation of his comments.

Abe, a fanatical supporter of artificial intelligence who recently launched a “robot revolution” to accelerate the robot takeover of the world, made his remarks at the G7 Summit, where leaders of the seven most powerful trading nations in the world were given a closer look at the latest in autonomous car technology, as well as more environmentally friendly fuel systems.

The G7 Summit was held last week in Ise-Shima, Japan, and local carmakers Toyota, Honda and Nissan took the opportunity to unveil some new innovations in their autonomous product range.  Continue reading Japan leader promotes robot revolution at G7 Summit

Honda presents autonomous car tech at G7 Summit

honda at g7

Honda presented its latest autonomous car technology, as well as its environmentally friendly vehicles, to G7 leaders at the summit in Japan. 

Honda showed off its Clarity Fuel Cell, its fuel cell vehicle, and Automated Drive, an autonomous development vehicle, for the G7 Summit 2016 Japan in Ise-Shima, which was held on May 26 and 27, 2016.

Honda, the developer of the Asimo robot, has been providing support to the Japanese government’s plans to showcase the attractiveness unique to Japan at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit, including high-tech products and innovations that it says “will convey such attractiveness of Japan to the world”.  Continue reading Honda presents autonomous car tech at G7 Summit