As one of the largest manufacturers of industrial robots, Yaskawa Southern Africa took part in this year’s Africa Automation Technology Fair (AATF), where various experts in the manufacturing industry gathered to exchange valuable industry expertise to increase investment prospects in the African continent’s manufacturing sector. The event, which celebrated its 25th year, centred around the theme of “For Africa from Africa”.
The AATF promotes and is passionate about furthering Africa’s transformation and promoting the development and growth of the continent’s automation industry.
Yaskawa Southern Africa was one of 150 exhibitors on display at the event, which took place from 9th to 11th May 2023, and showcased its collaborative robotic welding solution, Weld4me. This transformative piece of automated equipment presents an alternative or support to manual MIG/MAG welding with air-cooled welding equipment.
When asked about the value and importance of such events like the AATF, John Mostert, Sales Engineer at Yaskawa Southern Africa, said, “They bring the manufacturing industry and automation industry together.
Automation providers are able to better understand the market’s needs and manufacturers are able to see the latest trends in automation offerings.” And one of the most prominent needs is the adoption of collaborative systems that are able to work alongside humans, aptly referred to as collaborative robots or cobots.
Although such systems are making strides globally, Mostert notes that the adoption of cobots in Africa has taken a bit more time to get off the ground, noting that the continent still experiences unique challenges.
Events such as AATF present opportunities for organisations based out of Africa to take full advantage of developing partnerships and knowledge sharing in an effort to further the industry.
“Yaskawa’s strategy is to partner with integrators and experts in their field,” Mostert explains.
As a result, this year Yaskawa is partnering with Fronius, a leading welding specialist in order to deliver innovative solutions and remain a standout contender in a highly competitive market.
Because of this, staying up-to-date on the latest trends within the sector is excessively important and another crucial part of the aforementioned strategy, all the while made easier due to the fact that Yaskawa Southern Africa serves as a faction of a global organisation.
However, the organisation strongly believes in the progression of the manufacturing industry and Mostert is optimistic about Yaskawa’s role within this: “We are well positioned to assist companies to reduce the cost of manufacture while increasing the quality of their product making it possible to compete internationally.”
Mostert says he is enthusiastic about the new technologies as they break into the market, emphasising the “use of cameras, vision with robotics is now essential in many applications, the technology has matured and will continue to see improvement.”
Overall, Yaskawa says this year’s Africa Automation Technology Fair was a “success for Yaskawa and the wider manufacturing sector”.