Japan sets up new agency to popularize robotics applications
Recently, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan announced the establishment of a new functional organization——robotFriendly facilities promotion agency. The establishment of the agency aims to accelerate the “realization of a robot-friendly environment”, and plans to release and promote related projects in four areas, and identify pilot enterprises.
It is understood that “robot friendliness” is a new concept proposed by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2019, which refers to adjusting the site environment to facilitate the work of Robots. To this end, a “Robot Installation Model Construction Promotion Working Group” (referred to as the working group) was specially set up to promote the project.
The concept of “robot friendliness” is proposed mainly based on solving the dilemma faced by the inability to introduce robots on a large scale. The emergence of robots is mainly to solve various problems such as insufficient manpower, but in practice, it has not been widely used in various fields as originally expected.
For example, manufacturing is one of the fields where robots are introduced on a large scale, and automatic production lines of robots have been implemented in automobile and electrical factories, etc., contributing to improving production efficiency and solving various problems such as labor shortages.
However, in other fields, the large-scale use of robots has not occurred as expected. The main reason is that the current introduction of robots must be customized according to the working environment, resulting in a substantial increase in the cost of introduction and operation. In order to get rid of this “custom robot to the environment” mentality, the concept of “robot friendliness” was born.
In order to achieve “robot friendliness”, the working group will promote basic projects such as “innovative robot research, development and construction” from 2020. The establishment of this institution not only determines the winning bidders of each pilot project this year, but also adds the field of facility management with the industry as the main body.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry believes that to achieve “robot friendliness”, cooperation between robot user companies and robot integrated system companies is crucial. According to the results of discussions between the working group and representative companies on project support measures, at present, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has identified four key areas of “facility management”, “food”, “retail” and “logistics warehouse” to accelerate the implementation of “robot friendly” pilot work.
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