Japan's robots look at car industry as smartphone growth declines
Japanese corporations that built the robots that make the smartphones were eyeing automakers so that they could take up the slack. The shift was due to the decline in growth in the international smartphone market.
The Japanese electronics industry's strength was robotics. Fuji Machine Manufacturing, Hitachi High-Technologies, JUKI Corp, Panasonic Corp, and Yamaha Motor Co together made eight out of ten part mounting robots. The fastest among the robot could mount up to two dozens of components each second. According to records, ten robots could make 5,000 smartphones each day. Subsequently, because of the slow growth in smartphone sales, the chip mounters were already feeling the impact.
According to Technavio, an industry researcher, the global market for chip mounters would grow to US$7 billion by 2015. The chip mounters earned US$4 to US45 billion this year.
"It looks as though the smartphone and tablet markets have peaked," Hitachi firm's general manager, Masatoshi Kurosawa, said. Switching to auto industry would require the chip mounters to concentrate on component traceability.
"For the past several years the market has focused on smartphones, and that has meant everyone focused on making fast machines," Hiroshi Nakamura, JUKI's managing officer, stated. "Automakers have stricter safety concerns which mean they avoid cutting edge components."