Japan's robots eye car industry to take up smartphone slack
TOKYO (REUTERS) - As the breakneck growth in the global smartphone market eases, the mostly Japanese companies that make the robots that build the phones are looking to automakers to take up the slack.
Robotics remains a strength in a Japanese electronics industry that has been hammered by competition from rivals in South Korea and Taiwan. Panasonic Corp, Hitachi High-Technologies, Yamaha Motor Co, Fuji Machine Manufacturing and JUKI Corp together make eight of every 10 component mounting robots.
The quickest of these can mount more than two dozen parts a second, some thinner than a tenth of a millimeter. A line of 10 connected robots can put together 5,000 smartphones a day.
But, as smartphone sales growth slows, the chip mounters are feeling the squeeze.