Technical Progress in 2017

Preface

Hiroshi Ogasawara Representative Director and President

Representative Director
President
Hiroshi Ogasawara

In the economic situation surrounding Yaskawa in 2017, the global situation was that the Chinese economy recovered and, although it showed a trend towards deceleration in the latter half of the year, for the most part it remained stable. The U.S. economy was supported by robust personal consumption and a gradual economic expansion continued, particularly for domestic demand. In Europe, there was concern that there would be a downturn due to the strong Euro, but an expansion in exports sustained gentle economic recovery. In Japan, the recovery of the global economy from the latter half of 2016 resulted in manufacturing industries in particular seeing a continuing trend of export expansion and a steady recovery in capital investment. The expansion of the Japanese economy was comparable to that during the so-called “Izanagi Boom” period of postwar growth.

In these conditions, Yaskawa is now working under the “Dash 25” medium-term business plan (FY2016 to FY2018) as the first step towards the achievement of the “Vision 2025” long-term business plan that was announced in 2015 at the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the company. In order to become the leader in our core business sectors, we are working to further advance and develop the core technologies we have developed so far (for servos, AC drives, and robots), by aiming to expand our business with a focus on our mechatronics business and also into new areas and markets such as clean power business and Humatronics business. In particular, for our mechatronics business, we have launched “i3-Mechatronics” (pronounced i cube mechatronics) our new solution concept. One of the goals stated in our “Vision 2025” is to “Deliver revolutionary industrial automation.” As one initiative for this, the concept of i3-Mechatronics is to add digital data management to our conventional solutions that are based on products such as servos, AC drives and robots, for further advancement and implementation. We will create new value for customers by bringing together digital data solutions to offer a total solution.

The technology development for each industrial sector in 2017 was as follows.

In our motion control business, we expanded and improved the lineups of our main Σ-7 series AC servo drives and MP3000 series machine controllers and expanded the range of applications for them. In addition, we launched the Σ-7F integrated servomotor, which achieves the ultimate electrical and mechanical integration by integrating the servomotor and servo amplifier functions into a single unit in the first such product in the world to include a Gallium Nitride (GaN) power semiconductor. We also launched the very small Σ-7mini motor, which includes reflection-type encoder technology and responds to the requirements for high precision and high outputs. In addition, we promoted our development of products for specific applications, such as with the market launch of the CR700 AC drives for cranes.

In our robotics business, we expanded and improved the lineups of our MOTOMAN-GP series (for handling applications), SP series (for spot welding applications), and PH series (for handling between press processes) and responded to the requirements for the wide variety of customer production line configurations. In addition, we launched the MotoMINI, which is the smallest and lightest robot in the industry and makes it easy to construct flexible production equipment, making it the optimal choice for the automation of the production of small components. We also launched the YRC1000micro small-sized robot controller and the MOTOMAN-HC10 collaborative robot, which can be installed without a safety barrier and makes teaching easy.

In our system engineering business, we developed a permanent magnet type generator in response to the global trend towards the use of natural energy and the promotion of energy-saving and energy utilization and we reinforced our “Clean power business” with steps such as responding to the demand for larger sized wind power generation. In drives for marine vessels, we developed a DC bus line system in response to the requirements for the use of electric motors on ship propulsion systems.

In the area of research and development, we aimed for “Human & Eco Mechatronics creation” that is good for both people and the Earth and promoted the development of various different technologies such as technology to automatically optimize robot work procedures, an AI picking function that independently learns the various methods for grasping objects, technology for teaching robots skilled work through demonstration and matrix converter technology using bi-directional GaN devices. Furthermore, we also launched the CoCoroe AR2 arm rehabilitation robot and CoCoroe AAD ankle assist device as a result of the demonstration verification we promoted for our Humatronics business at the model project to support the development of nursing robots in Kitakyushu city.

Yaskawa will continue to aim to create new value for society by further advancing the core technologies of the company and also by realizing a Yaskawa version of Industrie 4.0 that uses network technologies such as the IoT and AI. We will also work to expand our clean power business around the world, such as in environmental energy, and to develop Humatronics devices. You can count on Yaskawa to create solutions as we continue to take on the challenges of new business domains.

[Motion Control Division Topics] Reached a cumulative total of 15 million AC servomotor units shipped

Ever since the launch of the first Yaskawa AC servomotor on the market in 1983, these motors have been used widely by customers both in Japan and overseas. In April 2017, Yaskawa reached a total of 15 million units shipped.

[Motion Control Division Topics] Σ-7F integrated servomotor models added to lineup

Σ-7 series integrated servomotor

Σ-7 series integrated servomotor

The Σ-7 series of AC servo drives was further enhanced with the inclusion in the lineup of the Σ-7F model integrated servomotor. This product has a built-in amplifier and was the world’s first such motor to include a Gallium Nitride (GaN) power semiconductor. In addition to achieving miniaturization and reduced wiring of control panels, it is also possible to reduce the device footprint, so it can achieve further size reduction and efficiency improvement on servo systems.

[Motion Control Division Topics] Σ-7mini model (SGM7M model) added to Σ-7 series AC servomotor lineup

Σ-7 series Σ-7mini model

Σ-7 series Σ-7mini model

The Σ-7mini model (SGM7M model) was added to the Σ-7 series AC servomotor lineup.

This model uses reflection-type encoder technology and optimized electromagnetic part design to achieve the high precision and increased output that is being increasingly required in the market for electronic component manufacturing equipment.

[Motion Control Division Topics] AC drive product expansion and improvement

CR700 AC drive for cranes

CR700 AC drive for cranes

There have been great changes in the environment surrounding the manufacturing sector in recent years, including with the reinforcement of energy efficiency regulations around the world for motors. There has also been increased interest in the enhancement of productivity through the use of the IoT (Internet of Things), as in Industrie 4.0.

Working with the concepts of being “flexible,” “easy,” and “sustainable,” we previously renewed our conventional AC drive series for general industrial with the release of the AC drive GA700. We have now also launched the AC drive CR700 for crane applications as the second part of the series. This product boasts functions developed specifically for crane applications, such as braking sequences, slope prevention and load swinging suppression, which we have developed during 30 years of experience developing AC drives for cranes.

[Motion Control Division Topics] Major PR and exhibitions

Yaskawa booth at System Control Fair 2017

Yaskawa booth at System Control Fair 2017

2017 “Cho-Monodzukuri” component awards Award for mechanical components: “Σ-7C model”

2017 “Cho-Monodzukuri” component awards
Award for mechanical components: “Σ-7C model”

2017 “Cho-Monodzukuri” component awards Award for environment related components: “GA700 AC drive”

2017 “Cho-Monodzukuri” component awards
Award for environment related components: “GA700 AC drive”

(1) At the System Control Fair 2017 (November 29 to December 1, 2017, Tokyo Big Sight), Yaskawa attended with the theme of “i3-Mechatronics (i cube mechatronics) for smart factories” with exhibits that included a demonstration machine for BTO (Built to Order) production using the example of a smartphone assembly line. There were also exhibits of the YASKAWA Cockpit service that proposes functions such as the IoT and failure prediction, the next generation motion field network MECHATROLINK-4, the Σ-7 series application specific model Σ-7FT, GA700, CR700, Σ-7 series AC servomotors with batteryless encoders and hollow servomotors. Many visitors showed their interest in the Yaskawa initiatives for the IoT and Industrie 4.0 and the keyword of i3-Mechatronics.

(2) In the 2017 “Cho-Monodzukuri” awards for components, the “AC servo drive Σ-7C model” received the award for mechanical components and the “AC drive GA700 for next-generation general industrial” received the award for environment related components.

[Robotics Division Topics] Market changes and Yaskawa initiatives

In the demand for robots, the main objective up until now has been the reduction of costs through automation. However, as a shortage of labor has become a pressing issue, the demand for production workplace automation as a solution to this is currently increasing rapidly. Furthermore, the continued growth of the Chinese economy has led to an expansion of the demand for robots in a wide range of sectors such as automobile related markets, smartphones, computers, household electrical goods, communications equipment and the handling of heavy objects.

In response to these changes in the market, Yaskawa operates robot centers around the world that can verify the introduction of customer applications in advance and has strengthened the company’s initiatives for the rapid provision of the optimal solutions to solve the problems experienced by customers.

In China, Yaskawa established a joint venture to develop industrial robot business with “Shenzhen Everwin Precision Technology Co., Ltd.,” which is a major manufacturer of smartphone related devices. This venture aims to develop and offer the optimal robots for smartphone manufacturing.

[Robotics Division Topics] Reinforcement of development and production capacities

Ground-breaking ceremony for third plant in China

Ground-breaking ceremony for third plant in China

New plant in Slovenia (Conceptual image)

New plant in Slovenia (Conceptual image)

Yaskawa robot development was previously all conducted in Japan, but development organizations have now also been established in locations such as America, China, and Europe, to make it possible to respond rapidly to the requirements of customers in the various areas. This improves the ability of Yaskawa to respond as a robot manufacturer and raises the competitiveness of the company in the market.

For production too, in order to be able to respond to the increased demand in the market, Yaskawa has decided to increase its facilities in China with a third plant in Changzhou city, Jiangsu province. Furthermore, in Europe, the Yaskawa Europe Robotics plant was established in Slovenia. Preparations at these two sites are currently in progress with the aim of starting production during FY2018.

[Robotics Division Topics] New product launches

MOTOMAN-HC10DT collaborative robot

MOTOMAN-HC10DT collaborative robot

YRC1000micro small-sized robot controller

YRC1000micro small-sized robot controller

New products launched included the MOTOMAN-HC10DT collaborative robot, which is attracting attention as a new robot application, and the YRC1000micro compact robot controller that supports the MotoMINI, the smallest and lightest robot in the industry.

Furthermore, a full series lineup from small to large sizes was completed with the launch of a series of medium and large-sized robots which are compatible with the YRC1000 robot controller that was released in 2016.

In addition, other products released included the MOTOMAN-SP180H and –SP225H hollow spot welding robots that can be used for high pressure spot welding for materials other than steel, such as for the move to EV automobiles, and also the MOTOMAN-MPX1950 compact painting robot.

[Robotics Division Topics] Major PR and exhibitions

Yaskawa booth at International Robot Exhibition 2017

Yaskawa booth at International Robot Exhibition 2017

Demonstration of miniature car assembly line realizing the i<sup>3</sup>-Mechatronics concept

Demonstration of miniature car assembly line
realizing the i3-Mechatronics concept

At the International Robot Exhibition 2017 (November 29 to December 2, 2017, Tokyo Big Sight), Yaskawa attended with the theme of “i3-Mechatronics (i cube mechatronics) for smart factories” with exhibits that proposed advanced manufacturing solutions. These included an integrated robot control system that uses the latest controller and ICT technology and a collaborative robot system that supports production which has varying processes.

Many visitors showed their interest in the exhibits of the latest technology to improve the flexibility of the manufacturing workplace and to the large range of example applications to meet the various requirements.

[System Engineering Division Topics] Iron and steel systems

In the iron and steel industry, the demand for crude steel is expected to remain firm, as there is predicted to be an acceleration of construction work in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and a continuation of the renewal and maintenance of aging infrastructure facilities. It is also predicted that there will be progress in the use of the IoT (Internet of Things) and AI, the shift from TBM (Time Based Management) to CBM (Condition Based Management) and support for energy saving and environmental measures.

In this situation, Yaskawa has responded to the requirements of customers both in Japan and overseas. For example, Yaskawa contributed to the realization of customer requirements in Japan with the delivery of systems that contribute to stable operations, the maintenance of productivity by minimizing the period of equipment downtime for the renewal of aging equipment and the improvement of control for improved production efficiency. Overseas, in addition to joint engineering with system integrators at local bases, Yaskawa also provided global support for initiatives such as an increase in local production for local consumption through new cooperation with a panel manufacturer and device manufacturer.

[System Engineering Division Topics] Social systems

In-house power generation equipment in Toneri Park, Adachi Ward, Tokyo

In-house power generation equipment in Toneri Park,
Adachi Ward, Tokyo

Administrative building central monitoring room at sewage purification center in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture

Administrative building central monitoring room at sewage purification center

in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture

For waterworks, based on the “New Water Supply Vision” established in March 2013 and the “New Sewerage Vision 2100” established in July 2014, there are demands for a reorganization into more efficient and more effective facilities, more sophisticated monitoring and control systems and new functions and roles for sewer systems.

Yaskawa has contributed to this policy by performing work on emergency power generation systems, work on pumping station electrical equipment that contributes to the removal of rainwater and the renewal of electrical equipment and central monitoring equipment for waterworks and sewage facilities.

Furthermore, in addition to promoting the development of water treatment technology, Yaskawa has also utilized the engineering strength it has built up so far to perform safe and secure facility renewals for the waterworks and sewage facilities at the core of social infrastructure and also to build and supply new systems.

[System Engineering Division Topics] Environmental energy

Permanent magnet type generator (8 MW class)

Permanent magnet type generator (8 MW class)

DC bus line system for marine vessels

DC bus line system for marine vessels

In the wind power market, there has been an expansion in the installation of off-shore wind turbines, particularly in Europe, and there has been a trend towards the use of increasingly large turbines in order to lower the generating cost. In response to this demand, Yaskawa developed an 8 MW class permanent magnet type generator in 2014 and has worked to construct a system for mass production and to reduce costs. As a result of this response to the requirements in expanding demand, orders were received for 93 units in the single year of 2017.

Furthermore, for the drives for marine vessels that are being developed as one part of the measures for energy utilization, it is expected that there will be a move to the use of electric motors on propulsion systems in response to the IMO (International Marine Organization) regulations on sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions that will come into effect from 2020. In response to this situation, Yaskawa has developed a highly efficient DC bus line system and received an order for the first unit. This DC bus line system uses a semiconductor high-speed DC circuit breaker and reliably protects the healthy equipment to achieve the reliability peculiar to marine vessels.

[Research and Development Topics] Exhibition of CoCoroe at 44th International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition H.C.R. 2017

Yaskawa booth at 44th International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition

Yaskawa booth at 44th International
Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition

CoCoroe AR2 arm rehabilitation robot

CoCoroe AR2 arm rehabilitation robot

Yaskawa attended the 44th International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition H.C.R. 2017 (September 27 to 29, 2017, Tokyo Big Sight), and introduced our Humatronics business initiatives in the medical care and welfare sector, as stated in Yaskawa’s Vision 2025. This exhibition is the largest exhibition of welfare equipment in Asia, with more than 120,000 participants. The large number of customers showed their interest in CoCoroe.

The products shown at the exhibition included the CoCoroe AR2 arm rehabilitation robot that supports repetitive facilitative exercise, which was launched in September 2017, and the ReWalk walking assist equipment for persons with spinal cord injuries, which is already on sale. Products that are planned to launch were also displayed; an ankle device that assists in walking rehabilitation, a transfer assist device that aims to reduce the burden on carers and a walking assist device that supports walking.

Demonstrations were given of each device. The medical care and welfare related personnel also used the devices so that they could understand the merits and functions of the products.

During the exhibition, awareness of the Yaskawa CoCoroe brand of nursing care and rehabilitation products was spread among a large number of hospital and facility related users and sales agencies. At the same time, useful information for product improvement and new product development was also collected by asking visitors about the methods of usage and requirements at their facilities.

[Research and Development Topics] Exhibition of the robot prototype with “teaching by demonstration” at Robot Industry Matching Fair in Kitakyushu 2017

Yaskawa booth at Robot Industry Matching Fair in Kitakyushu 2017

Yaskawa booth at Robot Industry Matching Fair
in Kitakyushu 2017

Demonstration exhibit of teaching by showing function

Demonstration exhibit of teaching by showing function

The “teaching by demonstration” function was displayed at the Robot Industry Matching Fair in Kitakyushu 2017 (June 21 to 23, 2017, West Japan General Exhibition Center). This function is to teach movement directly to the robot by human demonstration. This can be used in order to promote the use of robots for complex contact tasks that require proficiency, such as polishing.

Full polishing examples were demonstrated. It was easy to teach contact work that is difficult to using a programming pendant. There was a great deal of interest from the visitors and requests from polishing workplaces were also received. By performing continued of actual tasks, function brush-up, improvement of task quality and convenience are targeted.

[Research and Development Topics] 65th Electrical Science and Engineering Promotion Award

Recipients of 65th Electrical Science and Engineering Promotion Award

Recipients of 65th Electrical Science and Engineering
Promotion Award

The “Development of integrated servomotor” by Yaskawa was awarded the 65th Electrical Science and Engineering Promotion Award by the Promotion Foundation for Electrical Science and Engineering as a a recognition of its contribution to electrical science and engineering and to progress in industrial development.

The development of a gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductor drive circuit technology, vibration resistance and high heat dissipation structure technology made it possible to achieve a reduction to half of the volume whilst retaining the conventional servo amplifier functions and performance.

By integrating the servomotor and servo amplifier functions into a single unit, it can contribute to the reduction of the overall manufacturing equipment size and the reduction of wiring expenses.

[Technical Paper] 65th Electrical Science and Engineering Promotion Award
Development of World’s First Integrated Servomotor Using a GaN Power Semiconductor

Σ-7 series integrated servomotor

In order to develop the power conversion equipment using Gallium Nitride (GaN) or Silicon Carbide (SiC) power devices, Yaskawa is currently working on the development of GaN/SiC power device drive circuits and related peripheral technologies for those power devices. In this regard, GaN power devices were used in the servo amplifier, and “Integrated Servomotor” was developed by integrating the servomotor and servo amplifier functions into a single unit. This integrated servomotor received the 65th Electrical Science and Engineering Promotion Award as a recognition of the novel technologies, that results in the miniaturization of the manufacturing equipment size and the reduction of wiring expenses due to wire-saving.

This article describes servo drive systems using the integrated servomotor and the application effects of a GaN power device to the servo amplifier part.

[Technical Paper] 65th Electrical Science and Engineering Promotion Award
Development of EZ Open Loop Vector Control for Easy Setup Supporting Three Types of Motors

GA700 AC drive for general-purpose industrial use

With conventional AC drives, it was necessary to select a dedicated control method to fit the type of motor, so there was a problem that there were different setting parameters and adjustment methods and their setup was complicated.

In this development, EZ open loop vector control was developed that can drive induction motors, permanent magnet type synchronous motors and synchronous reluctance motors with just one control method. The EZ open loop vector control makes the adjustment and parameter management easier and can reduce the time required for setups. Furthermore, it is possible to minimize the current during the actual operation, so it achieves even greater energy saving than the conventional control methods.

The EZ open loop vector control received the 65th Electrical Science and Engineering Promotion Award as a recognition of the novel technologies. This article describes the principles and merits of the EZ open loop vector control and its effects in comparison with the conventional control methods.

[Technical Paper] Robotics Society of Japan “22nd Technical Innovations Award”
Reduction of Teaching Workload for Biomedical Robot Systems

Biomedical robot MOTOMAN-CSDA10F

In the biomedical sector of drug discovery, drug production, and clinical examinations, dual arm biomedical robot systems have been developed for robots to support or replace repetitive and dangerous work. In order to use robots in the biomedical sector, it becomes necessary to perform complex teaching work such as for the handling of apparatus and equipment. However, researchers in the biomedical sector are unfamiliar with the operation of robots, so this was a barrier to robot installation.

In response to this, the burden of the work to teach biomedical robot systems was reduced with the “ProtocolMaker” software to simplify robot teaching and by having a function (the Path Planning function) to automatically generate the robot motion trajectory to avoid interference.

This development received the “22nd Technical Innovations Award” from the Robotics Society of Japan as a recognition of the practicability and novel technologies. This article describes the configuration of biomedical robot systems and the function to reduce the teaching workload, previous results in the application to bio experiments and the future outlook for the technology.

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