Automation offsets labor shortage.
In 1968, Mazak Corp established a small office in New York. The magnitude of the operation was limited to sales and service. That was a simple beginning, and we've come a long way since then.
We moved to our present location in Florence, KY, in 1974 and initially did only knockdown assembly of machines. We enhanced our manufacturing capabilities in 1983 with the installation of a flexible manufacturing system (FMS). Today, that equipment is being replaced by new automation. Our factory has nearly completed an advanced CIM system, and, in the spring of 1990, we will unveil the full capabilities of this technology from corner to corner during a grand-opening event.
As a precedent, Mazak generated worldwide interest in 1983 when it established a manufacturing plant in Minokamo, Japan, and demonstrated a sophisticated FMS at that site. We expanded the CIM system in April 1989 and believe it to be the world's largest such system in metalworking. In the European market, we established a new CIM facility in the United Kingdom in 1987--with the cooperation of the British government.
Thus, all of our manufacturing facilities employ computer-integrated systems, and we have demonstrated a business philosophy of promoting both our stand-alone CNC machine tools and our ability to perform system integration of automatic manufacturing equipment.
We developed our business philosophy by a review of major industrial nations and their social and economic environments. We found reduction of total labor hours, an aging work force that is not being replenished by younger people, a divesting from manufacturing interests, and a decline in the ability to attract fresh engineering graduates.
The industrial sector thus is endangered. This is a critical manufacturing trend, and it's progressing rapidly. To cope with this threat, management must look to automated factory operation, computer-integrated manufacturing, and computerized integration of management functions at all levels.
To offset the downward manufacturing spiral, we at Mazak have contributed our CIM and automation expertise to manufacturers worldwide. We hope they take action now to incorporate advanced technology. Otherwise, manufacturing will not survive.
Study the United Kingdom in the 19th century, and the United States of the 20th century, and you'll see that manufacturing industries are the source of wealth. Manufacturing of products is fundamental to economic well being. Service industries, of course, support the manufacturers.
The majority of manufacturers in virtually every country are categorized as small or medium in size; only a few are classified as large. Therefore, it's important that factory automation be both affordable and available to the smaller firms. In essence, the revitalization of the manufacturing segment as a whole is in the hands of small- to medium-sized companies.
For Mazak to be an American corporation in the truest sense, we believe a localized research and development effort here in this country is necessary. Therefore, we will strengthen the US engineering effort and proceed with design and development programs that will meet the needs of the local markets. Integration engineering for automated manufacturing solutions will be included in this program. Similar R&D facilities will be established on a worldwide basis.
Profits earned in the future, as with past earnings, are to be reinvested here in projects like the R&D facility. We believe this practice is vital to the revitalization of US manufacturing and its subsequent prosperity.
by Teruyuki Yamazaki Chairman of the Board and President Yamazaki Mazak Corp
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|Publication:||Tooling & Production|
|Date:||Feb 1, 1990|
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