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Yazaki and NEC leverage AI for automated robot operation planning

Yazaki Corporation (Yazaki) and NEC Corporation have conducted a demonstration experiment using the “NEC Digital Robot Motion Planning Solution” to automatically generate motion plans for multiple robots using AI in the manufacture of wire harnesses for automobiles.

In this demonstration experiment, the need for a teaching process (work to create a motion plan for an industrial robot), which used to take engineers 40 days, was eliminated, and motion plans were automatically generated by AI in just one day. In addition, the AI reduced the time required for the manufacturing process by approximately 10% by using trial and error to create motion plans that increased production speed.

Based on these results, the companies began testing for mass production of wire harnesses in October of this year, with the aim of commercializing a system in July 2025. This will be the first full-scale use in Japan of a solution that uses AI to automatically generate motion plans for multiple robots to support the manufacture of multiple types of wire harnesses.

This system was realized by combining the NEC Digital Robot Motion Planning Solution with a robot system and simulator for wire harness assembly at Yazaki Corporation.

Specifically, product data, such as product design and work content, are input into the AI. After this, the AI and a simulator are linked. This automatically generates a motion plan that minimizes manufacturing time while at the same time ensuring that multiple robots and surrounding equipment do not interfere with each other. If there is interference after operation, the AI is notified and recalculates a motion plan to avoid interference. Furthermore, when new products are introduced or product specifications are changed, motion plans can be quickly calculated by inputting product data into the AI, eliminating the need for complex teaching processes.

Yazaki will utilize multiple robots to promote flexible and rapid responses to the needs of variable-type, variable-volume production. By linking AI, which automatically generates motion plans, with production planning and performance data, energy consumption can be predicted and measured, contributing to the realization of carbon neutrality.

NEC aims to commercialize this solution in 2024 and contribute to stable production and quality improvement through the realization of digital twins in the manufacturing field. Furthermore, NEC plans to globally deploy this solution to solve issues related to labor shortages and technology transfer.

CT Bureau

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