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Feature: iREX2023 Vol.4 – Interview with Junji Takehara, Chief Technical Adviser of Mitsubishi Electric

December 7, 2023

Mitsubishi Electric unveiled a number of new products at the International Robot Exhibition 2023 (iREX2023), but the company focused on proposing solutions rather than introducing and proposing products as individual items. The company’s main exhibit was a demonstration line for manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). It was presented as a “smart factory” where robots assemble and disassemble the batteries. The digital tools needed to make such a factory possible had also been shown at the previous show, but were still in the “concept” phase. This time, however, they have entered the “implementation” phase with the presentation of official products. 

Not just robotics, but Mitsubishi Electric 

Mitsubishi Electric
FACTORY AUTOMATION YSTEM GROUP, Industrial Products Marketing Division
Junji Takehara, Chief Technical Adviser

The highlight of iREX2023 for our company was the main exhibit. We wanted visitors to see that “Mitsubishi Electric is more than just robots. At iREX, a festival of robot manufacturers from around the world, we set out to showcase Mitsubishi Electric’s strengths as more than just robots. While the last exhibition was in the “concept” phase, where software products were not yet fully launched, this time we were able to showcase the “implementation” phase. We proposed the full use of 3D simulators, operation monitoring and data analysis. 

Mitsubishi Electric has FA components, and we can show how data can be collected from them, represented as a digital twin, and linked to digital transformation (DX). The ‘manufacturing data’ generated in FA shops is of great value to both our customers and ourselves, and we were keen to show visitors that this value can be further enhanced through a two-way virtuous circle. 

The overall highlight of iREX2023 may not have changed much since the last exhibition less than two years ago, but I think visitors were able to see a greater variety of concrete proposals for the use of collaborative robots than in the past. For those who have never used robots before to start using them, collaborative robots that can be used more easily through direct teaching, etc., can be said to be an item that meets their needs. 

However, I think it will take time for collaborative robots to take root, especially in the Japanese market. The Japanese manufacturing industry puts safety first, and each user has its own safety standards on the shop floor, so the introduction of robots is not as easy as expected. In the future, further education and awareness will be essential. At present, I feel that the number of collaborative robot manufacturers has increased too much, both in Japan and overseas. As competition is expected to intensify, Mitsubishi Electric will continue to propose total solutions that go beyond robots alone. 


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