20 April 2018

This text is the English translation of the official Turkish version of the applicable press release. It has been prepared solely as a reference and ease of use. Please refer to the original Turkish text for details and/or attributes. In case of any incongruity, original Turkish version shall prevail.

Cooperation of robot and human increases efficiency in factories

e-F@ctory concept by Mitsubishi Electric for Industry 4.0 adaptation period

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Leading brand in electric, electronic and automation industry, Mitsubishi Electric answers Industry 4.0 with its digital factory concept, e-F@ctory. Making statements about new generation digital factories, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Factory Automation Overseas Strategic Planning Senior Manager, Hajime Sugiyama said that cooperation of robots and humans increase efficiency in production facilities that are built to fulfill personalized demands of customers. Stating that efficiency increased by 50 percent upon applying e-F@ctory concept in one of the factories of Mitsubishi Electric, Sugiyama said that short-time stops in production lines are reduced by 70 percent.

Within the context of WIN Eurasia fairs, the meeting point of Industrialists in Eurasian region, during a session titled "Digital factories of 21th century" organized under the cooperation of Financial Journalists Association, International Advanced Industrial Automation Congress and Yıldız Technical University, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Factory Automation Overseas Stratehic Planning Senior Manager, Hajime Sugiyama participated as speechgiver. Pointing out to digital conversion process in factories and giving world wide examples of e-F@ctory, Mitsubishi Electric's answer to Industry 4.0, Hajime Sugiyama received thank you plaque from the Minister of Science, Industry and Technology, Faruk Özlü.

Stating that 10 years ago, it was enough for a brand and model to produce only one type of automobile but in the present day, according to personalized consumer demands thousands of types of automobile have to be produced for the same brand and model, Hajime Sugiyama said "While buying an automobile, consumers want to decide on several aspects of the car such as colour, interior design and accesorries, personalizing the automobile. Such changeable demands is a very hard scenario with traditional approach to production. Thus, having a flexible structure and the ability to fulfill different customer demands are some of the most important topics for factories under the process of Industry 4.0. This is only possible with proper factory infrastructure".

There is a lack of robot engineers worldwide

Also giving his remarks on robots, one of the most important elements of digital factories, Sugiyama stated that it would not be right to think all types of work can be done esclusively by robots and continued; "While robots can be used for simple tasks, it is more efficient to also have support from a human in complicated works. Because humans are more flexible and do a variety of different tasks. Robots fall right in between. One of the most concerned topic about robots is the controversy that robots will end the jobs of humans in factories. However, this is not really possible. First of all, we need humans even for programming the robots and at the moment, there is a lack of robot engineers worldwide. Shortly, we can say that instead of a factory consisting solely of robots, digital factories where robots work in tandem with humans in a balanced mix are much more efficient."

Short-time stops in product lines reduced by 70 percent, efficiency increased by 50 percent

Expressing that he started working on Mitsubishi Electric's digital factory concept e-F@ctory starting from 2003, Sugiyama gave the following information about the model implementation in the company's own factory; "In the past, our method of troubleshooting in our factories was, we would look at data and once we realized there was a problem, we would put the data on an excel sheet and analyse it. Mostly, after a week of cumulating data we wouldn't be able to solve the problem and then we would start gathering even more data. Sometimes, we couldn't get our hands on the right data and we would have to operate on guesswork. That's why we developed e-F@ctory concept, which is a fully automated line that collects data automatically, in order to solve problems quickly and correctly. Now we can see everything in real-time. Thus, we can see which production line stopped, how many times the machine stopped and such, we can understand the problem with one move and create solutions. This way we managed to reduce short-time stops in production lines by 70 percent and increased efficiency by 50 percent. Because it is a fully automated process, once you scan the barcode, robot settings are configured automatically. All types of data are collected by the network and relayed to server wirelessly. That's one of the biggest advantages of Industry 4.0".

Humans in factories increase the functionality of robots

Saying that they have high opinion of having humans in production lines in order to make robots more functional, Sugiyama also said; "For example, when robots are used in an automotive factory exclusively, numerous problems can happen. Too many equipment might be needed to feed the production line with necessary items. Any stoppage occurring on one part of the line might stop the whole production line. That's why we believe it is more efficient if robots and humans work together."

Right solutions must be found

Saying that there is a very wrong belief that Industry 4.0 compatible production infrastructure are too complicated, Sugiyama finished his words by saying, "What is important is that companies can find the right solution that first their company's dynamics the best. We, as Mitsubishi Electric, develop easy to use new generation technologies."

Note that the releases are accurate at the time of publication but may be subject to change without notice.