1660253343329 Michaelhelinsb

Interconnectivity in the robotic work cell

March 11, 2021
Software drives much of the robotics integration process at Yamaha Intelligent Machinery

Michael Helin was appointed to senior automation engineer of the Robot Operations FA (Factory Automation) department at Yamaha Intelligent Machinery. Helin brings more than 15 years’ experience in automation engineering, manufacturing and university education to his new position. He worked in systems integration in the past, building custom machine systems with PLC control, machine vision and a variety of different robots.

“We’re excited to have Michael join our growing group of industry experts at Yamaha,” Shinji Kuroda, manager of Yamaha Robot Operations FA, says. “His knowledge and broad-based experience make him a valuable asset to our customers, and we’re delighted to have him on our team.”

Kuroda adds: “Michael has a great passion for this industry and will be a very good asset for Yamaha especially now, with so many new products and software offerings to be released in 2021. We look forward to introducing him to our customers and presenting our new products as soon as travel restrictions allow.”

What are three key things that a machine builder, system integrator or manufacturer should know about your organization?

Michael Helin, senior automation engineer, factory automation, Yamaha Intelligent Machinery: Yamaha Intelligent Machinery (IM) designs a wide variety of software, linear industrial actuators, smart conveyors, SCARA, cartesian robots and six- and seven-axis articulated robots. One of the great things about Yamaha’s line card is the wide variety of robotic and smart systems that are offered so that customers can select the best product for their applications. Yamaha has a great line of SCARA type robots that can be engineered to provide the best solution to your automation system design. Additionally, Yamaha is pushing the envelope on developing even smarter ways to integrate industrial robotics into the marketplace. An example is integrated machine vision with the robot controllers to provide smart and flexible robotics with easier setup and programming. Yamaha diligently researches the industrial robotics market to understand the demands of system integrators and manufacturing end users to provide the best solutions to meet our customers automation challenges.

What new technologies are driving product development and why?

Michael Helin, senior automation engineer, factory automation, Yamaha Intelligent Machinery: Innovations of smarter robotic systems integrating machine vision are driving new developments in the way industrial robotics can be deployed. Future integration with artificial intelligence, 2D and 3D machine vision, collaborative robotics and autonomous guided vehicles will add to areas where Yamaha robotics solutions can be incorporated into factories and businesses around the world. Yamaha strives to be on the cutting edge of automation development, and there is the potential to offer an even wider array of robotics solutions in the future.

How does the Industrial Internet of Things figure into business strategy?

Michael Helin, senior automation engineer, factory automation, Yamaha Intelligent Machinery:The Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 initiatives are important factors in the development of new technologies at Yamaha. There are huge advantages for improved production efficiency using smart communication devices (IIoT) incorporated with our robotic systems. The robot controller is networkable with a wide variety of communications protocols to allow integration with various types of programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and additionally much of the work load of I/O monitoring can be controlled directly through the RCX robot controller allowing for independent logic operations freeing up PLC resources. There is no doubt that IIoT is changing the manufacturing landscape, and Yamaha aims to be a pivotal part of that development.

How will machine automation and controls alter the way companies staff their operations in the future?

Michael Helin, senior automation engineer, factory automation, Yamaha Intelligent Machinery (IM, www.yamaha-motor-im.com): The way automation is becoming more flexible, more cost approachable and more versatile for end users has changed the way a lot of companies view the adoption of robotics into manufacturing lines by reducing several hurdles companies faced in the past. There is a great transition occurring in industry, where a fully interconnected factory and even lights-out operations are becoming possible for companies. The times of Henry Ford and production with hundreds of workers on a line are disappearing when a similar line can be automated and require minimal collaboration of human workers and engineers on the factory floor to produce a complex product such as an automobile. Machine automation and control systems are allowing companies to focus on high-skilled labor positions in technology and engineering to run many of the operations in an automated facility. Additionally, the data provided by a securely networked automated factory helps companies adapt to changing demands in production and machine maintenance and provides the tools for advanced data analytics allowing for the greatest opportunity for efficiency and waste reduction. The future of manufacturing labor is changing, and Yamaha plans to offer great products, tools and support to help with the transition.

How is the development of software solutions impacting requirements for hardware?

Michael Helin, senior automation engineer, factory automation, Yamaha Intelligent Machinery: Software is an integral part of many of Yamaha’s hardware solutions and developing robust user-friendly software is of great importance when creating new robotic technologies. At Yamaha, we want our robotics solutions to be approachable to new users to expand our market impact. Flexible and scalable software are crucial factors when selecting an industrial robot solution, and having the hardware capabilities to deliver the optimum robotic solution are of great importance in our research and design processes.

As engineering and IT continue their convergence, which one is and/or will be leading the direction of future automation and technology?

Michael Helin, senior automation engineer, factory automation, Yamaha Intelligent Machinery: Software drives much of the robotics integration process, and having software that has interconnectivity with other devices in a robotic work cell is very important to us. The future of Industry 4.0 is building systems that are interoperable and networked, and Yamaha considers this in the development of new technologies. Both information technology and engineering are not mutually exclusive anymore but require a combination of both in integrated robotic solutions.

Looking into the future, how will technology change your organization or other organizations over the next five years?

Michael Helin, senior automation engineer, factory automation, Yamaha Intelligent Machinery: The landscape of robotics in industry has changed greatly since the 1980s when we saw some of the first automated robotic systems being used in factories. Technology is changing all the time, and, at Yamaha, systems design and development that incorporates new technologies to provide the best advantages to the customer are of great importance to the company. In the future, we will look at how to make robots safer, user friendly and more adaptable as technology evolves. At Yamaha we follow ideals of “Advancing Robotics”, “Rethinking Solutions” and “Transforming Mobility” of how our systems can be used in the ecosystem of businesses today.
The future looks bright as our business continues to grow, and as we develop more solutions for industry and commercial robotics over the next five years.

About the author: Mike Bacidore
About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

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