YASKAWA drives ahead on robotic power

YASKAWA drives ahead on robotic power

 Japanese robotics powerhouse YASKAWA Electric Corporation’s global head has announced the company’s strategy to strengthen its core robotics business in India, besides outlining growth plans across its other businesses in the country.

The $4-billion YASKAWA’s robotics business in India covers the two areas of full robot systems and robotics with accessories. The former, which is client order-driven, contributes 70 per cent of its business, while robotics with accessories brings up the remaining. In all, the company installs around 400-450 robots per year in India.

“Our robots are utilised for industrial processes such as handling, lifting, sealing, and water-jet cutting, among others. The automobile industry is an important market for our robots, and many car OEMs (original equipment makers or manufacturers) from Japan, South Korea, and Europe use them in their Indian facilities. We also supply robots to the automakers’ tier-II and tier-III OEMs (parts suppliers),” YASKAWA Chairman and President Junji Tsuda told Deccan Herald.

About 10 years ago, the company established a robot systems facility in Gurgaon. YASKAWA has around 50 suppliers for its robotics operations in India, who supply mainly for the production of peripherals. Referring to the scope of robotics in Indian manufacturing, Tsuda said, “The size of the total robot installations in India is around 1,500 units per year, and we hold 25 per cent of that market’s share. Automation is still fledgling in the country, but will grow. The strategy is all about how to industrialise the country. Right now, labour costs are low, but cost competitiveness is required (for companies), eventually.”

AC drives looking up

YASKAWA’s other important business in India, AC Drives, is also picking up, and the company is bullish on its expansion. Its variable frequency drives (VFDs) are used in elevators, cranes, and escalators, which help in speed control of the machines, in turn leading to around 30 per cent energy savings.

The company’s facility at Electronic City, Bengaluru, is involved in the production of drives of up to 300 kW. With the total capacity at 50,000 units per year, the plant is currently supplying only 20,000 units.

“Our first priority is to double our (drives) business volume over the next two years, following which if demand grows and we need more capacity, we may look at a new facility too, by the next four years,” YASKAWA India President and Chief Executive Officer Akinori Urakawa hinted.

The size of the 300 kW, 690-volt drives in India is around Rs 1,000 crore, and YASKAWA holds a market share of 10 per cent. 

“We have just begun operations of yet another important business in India — Motion Control — in April. We are also involved in R&D activities to develop software for our overall business,” Urakawa added.

Yaskawa India recorded revenues to the tune of Rs 200 crore in 2014, with a CAGR of around 9 per cent.

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