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Japan's Yaskawa morphs into leading automation consultant

From microchips to rice balls, robot motor maker extends across diverse sectors

Yaskawa is now selling itself as an automation efficiency expert, especially for industrial robots.

KITAKYUSHU, Japan -- Yaskawa Electric, one of the world's top four factory automation companies, makes industrial robots and other products needed by automakers and chipmakers. To diversify its offerings, the company is now providing consultation services on automation to a wide range of industries, including food and health care.

In the fall of 2020, Hiroshi Ogasawara, the 65-year-old president of Yaskawa Electric, took advantage of a lull in the coronavirus pandemic to visit a client, an electronic parts maker in Tokyo. A manager there asked Ogasawara about supply chains, and how to improve factory lines and improve production.

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