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Robotics Leader Yaskawa Plans Slovenia Factory submitted

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Yaskawa Motoman robotic arms are adapted for many factory-floor uses, such as welding and brazing. Kitakyushu, Japan-based Yaskawa has announced plans to open a plant in Slovenia to serve European, Middle Eastern and African markets.

Company behind Motoman industrial robots expects new facility to supply 80% of European demand.

Japanese technology group Yaskawa Electric Corp. is preparing to build a robot plant in Slovenia, the aim being to become the leading manufacturer of industrial robots in Europe and provide better service to customers. Yaskawa already has an important position in the industry, thanks to a wide product range that includes servo drives, inverters, robots (under the Motoman brand) and VIPA control technology, a business with annual revenue of more than EUR3 billion (US$3.28 billion).

Directors of Yaskawa Electric Corp., including President Hiroshi Ogasawara and Yaskawa Europe CEO Manfred Stern, officially announced the plant during a news conference on November 21, 2016, in Frankfurt, Germany. In a statement released during the event, the company said, “Europe is a leader in many technological areas. . . . We are glad to be here and to produce even more efficient solutions.”

According to Yaskawa’s website, the plant will be in Ribnica, Slovenia. The 30,000-m2 facility will tentatively operate under the name Yaskawa Europe Robotics and has a target date of September 2018 to begin production of Motoman robots. It will join Yaskawa’s other plants, in Japan and China, and improve its supply chain capabilities in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Motoman industrial robots are used by factories all over the world. The company expects the new plant will satisfy about 80% of the European demand for robots and is making an investment of about EUR25 million (US$27.2 million) in the facility. Along with a new European robotics development center at the Slovenia site, Yaskawa expects to realize a significant expansion of its production capacity. The company has a worldwide installed base of more than 350,000 industrial robots and is the leading supplier of drive automation technology. The new factory should create about 200 new jobs.

Yaskawa currently employs about 350 R&D and application engineers in Europe. The company said the new production and development center will enable even faster customized robotic solutions in Europe and strengthen its cooperation with OEMs in these markets. Yaskawa said the new facility will also allow it to focus more closely on the technological trends in the European market.

Yaskawa, founded in Kitakyushu, Japan, in 1915, offers a wide range of industrial solutions to its customers with positioner, gantry and servo-rail production from its other plants in Europe. The company has expanded its business model through strategic acquisitions in the fields of state-of-the-art industrial control technology and green energy. It focuses on energy solutions in the areas of wind power and electrification of ship actuators.

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