Thu, Aug 01, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Japan’s phone-building robots eye car industry

Reuters, TOKYO

His company and other chip mounters typically have about 10 months advance notice of new product launches when manufacturers begin shopping around for new production equipment.

Switching to supplying the auto industry requires chip mounters to focus less on speed and miniaturization and more on component traceability, JUKI managing officer Hiroshi Nakamura said.

“For the past several years, the market has focused on smartphones, and that has meant everyone focused on making fast machines,” he said. “Automakers have stricter safety concerns, which means they avoid cutting-edge components.”

Yamaha Motors, a long-time chip mounter supplier to the auto industry, is facing increased competition from rivals that have until now been more focused on smartphones.

Its response has been to seek business at Chinese smartphone foundries that are buying fewer of Panasonic’s high-speed mounters by offering to automate work, such as fitting connectors, that is still done by hand.

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