Opening ceremony of the Yaskawa Europe GmbH extension in Allershausen
The opening ceremony of the Japanese robotics company Yaskawa Europe GmbH’s extension in Allershausen was held on 15 January 2018. This is the first extension since 2012 when the Robotics Division was moved to Yaskawastraße 1 in Allershausen. The investment costs came to EUR 8 million and 300 jobs have been secured in the long-term.
A brief excursion into the company’s history: The Yaskawa Electric Corporation was founded as an engine manufacturer in Kitakyushu in the Fukuoka Prefecture on the Japanese Island of Kyushu in 1915. The company generated a turnover of roughly EUR 3.5 billion in 2017 with 14,500 employees worldwide. The sales distribution for the individual product groups is 50% application and control technology, one third robotics as well as system and information technology, which makes up the rest. Although you might not have direct contact with a robot in your private home, everyone who owns an iPhone or piece of IKEA furniture, for example, will already have come into indirect contact with Yaskawa.
We, the Japan team at Invest in Bavaria, attended the opening ceremony. We were keen to see the results having visited the building site equipped with hard hats six months before.
Mr Manfred Stern, President & CEO of Yaskawa Europe, listed the reasons for Yaskawa’s success as follows during the opening speech:
• Increased efforts to be where the customers are
• Focusing on free markets
• Developing production in Europe
While European companies are turning their attention to China, Yaskawa is conversely deliberately focusing on Europe. The quote by Mr Hiroshi Ogasawara, Representative Director & President of Yaskawa Electric Corporation sums up the company’s trend: “Some are becoming more Chinese, Yaskawa is by contrast becoming more European”. The latest developments like “Industry 4.0” or “full automation” are taking place in Europe. Anyone who wants to play in the premier league globally has to survive in the face of German and European competition in Europe, according to Mr Stern. After all, there is a huge demand for automation in Europe and therefore good growth prospects for the producing industry in Europe.
The Japanese Consul General Tetsuya Kimura from the Japanese Consulate General in Munich expressed his thanks for the support and cooperation from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Invest in Bavaria and Allershausen municipality and was delighted with the extension as it is a positive sign for the company’s business situation.
Mr Bruno J. Schnekenburger, President of the Robotics Division, pointed out in his speech that the highest density of robotics can interestingly be found in the most successful economic countries with a good employment rate. According to statistics, South Korea has the highest density of robotics with a rate of one robot per 15 employees, followed by Singapore and Germany/Japan. This result contradicts the fear that jobs might be lost due to the use of robots.
Mayor Rudolf Popp of Allershausen outlined his intensive support for the individual construction progress phases and the huge challenge of having to release the land for the new development first. This shows that companies are in good hands in Allershausen with an active Mayor like Mr Popp.
Finally, State Minister Ilse Aigner, Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs, welcomed Yaskawa’s decision of wanting to put down even firmer roots in Bavaria with the new building at the Allershausen location. This is a clear statement in favour of Bavaria and how comfortable Yaskawa feels here. This applies to Yaskawa: Originally from Japan, present all over the world, at home in Bavaria. Anyone backing robotics and automation is going to be a winner when it comes to digitalisation and secure competitive advantages for the future.
After the red ribbon was cut by the Japanese Consul General, State Minister Aigner, Mr Stern, Mr Schnekenburger and Mayor Popp, there was a breathtaking drumming show performance. The big drum and drummer, who is definitely not afraid of heights, were spun around by a Yaskawa robot. The guests were then received with a exclusive cocktail, mixed by a Yaskawa robot.
As Mr Stern noted, the new building was constructed to be very energy efficient. We were impressed by the pleasant indoor climate, which you don’t expect of large industrial halls. According to Yaskawa, the management thinks in a 10-year cycle. We are curious to see how Yaskawa and the community develops further over then years!