Purpose – This paper aims to describe the fundamental concept of Fanuc's 720 h unattended continuous manufacturing system. It pays special attention to the material‐handling system, direct input‐output system (DIO system) created by Tetsuro Mori, Seibu Electric, Japan, that is the integral part of the unmanned factory besides intelligent robots. Also it refers to the origin of the term “mechatronics” – how Tetsuro Mori coined it. Design/methodology/approach – Based on an interview with Tetsuro Mori, the report describes how he conceived the system and how Fanuc employed the concept throughout its production facilities. Findings – The DIO strategy not only will be beneficial for the big corporations like Fanuc, but also it will be useful for smaller enterprises. Originality/value – Although many reports were published on Fanuc's unattended manufacturing system they only talk about the intelligent robots and apparently forget to mention the role of the unique concept of the material‐handling system that made the unmanned operation possible. The report elaborates the secret of the system. Also, probably, the report is the first one outside Japan that discloses how the term “mechatronics” was born.
Assembly Automation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 18, 2008
Keywords: Materials handling; Assembly; Robotics
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