Yaskawa invests €25m to expand its European activities
The Japanese automation and robotics manufacturer Yaskawa is investing around €25m to expand its production facilities in Europe and to open a new robot manufacturing plant and European robotics development centre in Slovenia, creating around 200 jobs in the process.
The company has set itself a medium-term goal of becoming one of the top two suppliers of industrial robots in what it regards as key markets.
The first Yaskawa Motoman robots are due to roll off the Slovenian production line in 2018. The factory is expected to satisfy about 80% of European demand for the company’s robots. Yaskawa already has robot manufacturing facilities in Japan and China, and has supplied more than 350,000 robots worldwide.
The company currently employs about 350 development and application engineers across Europe. The new facilities will allow faster production of customised robots, and strengthen Yaskawa’s cooperation with OEMs in Europe.
Yaskawa is also expanding its European activities by investing in its electric drives activities and through strategic acquisitions, such as the German controls company Vipa, which it bought in 2012, and Wärtsilä’s marine drives business, which it acquired last year. Two target areas that it is focusing on are wind power and the electrification of marine drives.
At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Yaskawa unveiled several new industrial robots, including two IP67-protected machines (the Motoman GP7 and GP8), with payloads of 7kg and 8kg, which it claims are the fastest in their class. There were also two larger six-axis machines (the Motoman MH215II and MH250II) with payloads of 215kg and 250kg, and a vibration control system that is claimed to result in extremely high acceleration rates and repeat accuracies of 0.2mm. These robots have a Profinet interface that allows them to be programmed and controlled directly from Siemens TIA Portal software.