February 6, 2023
News Digest Publishing, which operates SEISANZAI Japan, held a New Year’s event on January 12, 2023, at the Nagoya Congress Center in Nagoya, Japan.
The event featured a panel discussion named New Year’s Top Interview with the theme “What will happen to the FA industry in the future?” The top executives from Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA), Japan Machine Accessory Association (JMAA), Japan Robot Association (JARA), Japan Precision Measuring Instruments Manufacturers Association (JMA), Japan Cutting & Wear-resistant Tool Association (JTA), and Japan Machine Tool Distributors Association (JMTDA) took the stage and passionately discussed the industry outlook and key policies for the coming year. Hachiro Higuchi, President of News Digest Publishing, served as moderator.
Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba, Chairman
JMTBA forecasts that Japan’s machine tool orders will decline 8.6% year-on-year to 1.6 trillion yen. Domestic demand will increase 8.3% YoY to 650 billion yen, while foreign demand will decrease 17.4% YoY to 950 billion yen. Domestic demand is expected to stay strong, but there will be a sharp decline in foreign demand.
This year, we’re putting our focus on “digital”, “green (environmental responsiveness)”, and “resilience”. The market environment for the machine tool industry is quite uncertain right now. However, at the same time, new needs such as electric vehicles (EVs) are emerging, and we are in a transition period where new forms of production are being demanded. We would like to propose a Japanese-originated smart factory in cooperation with other organizations to respond to these changes.
Mr. Akihiro Teramachi, Chairman
JMAA consists of four sections: “parts,” “work holding devices,” “tool holders,” and “other peripherals.” Sales of machine tools for last year, 2022, are expected to increase by 11% over the previous year, which would be the second-best result ever, after 2018. This year’s forecast is still being worked out, but we believe it will be about the same level as last year.
We are now in an era of “VUCA” (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity). In the short term, geopolitical risks are the biggest issue, and the FA industry as a whole is entering a period of adjustment. However, in the medium to long term, business opportunities will expand with the development of connectivity and autonomy.
Mr. Kenji Yamaguchi, Chairman
In 2022, orders for Japan’s industrial robots rose 2.9% from the previous year, totaling about 1.11 trillion yen, and production increased by 5.5% YoY to approximately 991 billion yen, thanks to strong demand for automation. JARA’s forecast for 2023 is a 3.6% YoY increase in orders, reaching approximately 1.15 trillion yen. Production is expected to hit a record high, growing 6.0% YoY to around 1.05 trillion yen, surpassing 1 trillion yen for the first time.
Our five priority measures for this year are: (1) completing our 50th anniversary projects, including compiling the “The 50-year history of JARA,” (2) holding “JISSO PROTEC 2023” and “International Robot Exhibition 2023,” (3) expanding the robot market, (4) strengthening industry-academia cooperation, and (5) advancing international standardization and exchange activities.
Mr. Hitoshi Yoshida, Chairman
Last year, total shipments of measuring instruments reached around 111.3 billion yen. Compared to 2018, which was a record year, the composition of sales destinations has shifted, with automotive-related sales making up only 40% of total sales compared to 60% previously. Instead, demand from the semiconductor-related sector has surged, offsetting the decline in the automotive-related sector. The JMA expects shipments of measuring instruments this year to be at the same level as last year. Trends in the automotive industry, including the impact of the shift to EVs, and trends in the semiconductor industry will be key points this year.
We will focus on strengthening exports as well as automation and networking of measuring instruments.
Mr. Toshiyuki Sahashi, Vice Chairman
JTA compiles the production value of cutting and wear-resistant tools on a fiscal year basis, from April to March of the following year, and expects it will reach 500 billion yen in FY2022. Although there are many concerns at present, we hope to exceed the record high of 519.4 billion yen in FY2018, in FY2023. The recovery of the automobile and aircraft industries – our largest customers – and the expansion of demand for small parts related to semiconductors and electronics are expected to drive demand for these products.
As the shift towards EVs continues, demand for cutting and wear-resistant tools is expected to decline in the medium to long term. In addition to responding to the shift to EVs, we will also focus on digitalization and environmental responsiveness, and strengthen cooperation with other organizations.
Mr. Kenji Takada, Chairman
JMTDA places a strong emphasis on “SE (Sales Engineer) Education” to enhance the skills of sales personnel. SE training consists of three courses: the “Basic Course” for new employees to those in their second year of employment, the “SE Course” for those with three or more years of sales experience, and the “SE Update Course” to update the SE Course. Since the program began back in 1991, more than 10,000 people have gone through the program.
Machinery dealers work with a wide variety of manufacturers and have access to a wealth of information. Therefore, it is important for machinery dealers to play the role of coordinator to strengthen cooperation among various organizations.
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