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The Day Industrial Robots Were Introduced in Japan. Why Did the Father of Robotics Entrust Kawasaki?

Another story of robots during the period of rapid economic growth In the 1960s, Japan was at a fever pitch with its dramatic economic growth. With the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games not too far off, inaugurations of things like expressways and the Shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) were happening one after another and people were living increasingly enriched lives. At that time, Astro Boy, the wildly popular robot animation series, had just started its TV broadcast on the airwaves, bringing much excitement into living rooms all across Japan. For most Japanese people, robots were a source of inspiration and represented an image of the future. But behind the scenes, […]

The Legacy of Japan’s First Domestically Manufactured Industrial Robot, the “Kawasaki-Unimate”

“Kawasaki-Unimate”, Japan’s first domestically manufactured industrial robot Industrial robots have strongly supported businesses in Japan. Although today it becomes common for many companies to implement robot systems, the road to widespread adoption was by no means a smooth one. As a matter of fact, the first industrial robot domestically manufactured in Japan was the Kawasaki-Unimate launched by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, or Kawasaki, in 1969. This article will introduce some of the stories behind the development of this home-grown Unimate. An industrial robot is a machine with multiple, freely-moveable, operable joints capable of performing tasks such as welding and handling heavy objects. Once movements are configured through teaching and programming, industrial […]