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FANUC: Controllers

Outline

FANUC was established as FANUC Fujitsu in 1972 when the Computing Control Division of Fujitsu became independent. Today it is the world’s number one manufacturer of computerized numerical control (CNC) devices for machine tool use, and controls around 70% of the Japanese market. It is also Japan’s top manufacturer of articulated robots.

The market strength of FANUC’s CNC machine tools is due in no small part to the fact that its CNC devices are programmable to de facto G-code standards, G-code being the code that controls the machine. After this, FANUC moved into the computer-controlled product manufacturing sector, with solutions such as machine tool robots, experiencing significant expansion as a result.

FANUC was previously affiliated to Fuji Electric and Fujitsu, but has recently become fully independent. It is currently concentrating its efforts on expansion outside of Japan. Overseas, it is leading the controllers market, followed by Germany’s Siemens. In Japan, its closest rivals are Mitsubishi Electric and Yaskawa Electric, but it has established such a position of market strength that serious challenge from either company seems unlikely. FANUC is respected both domestically and internationally as a market-leading company of significant influence.

Controllers
CNC devices use a computer to numerically control machine performance, enabling processing to be carried out in a shorter amount of time and with greater uniformity and accuracy, particularly in cases requiring identical processing, repeated processing, or the processing of complex shapes. In combination with CAD or CAM technologies, the advanced automation of everything from design to manufacturing is possible. In particular, combination systems are increasingly adaptable to 3D shapes and the five-axis control machining developed recently.

CNC machine tools are a particular strength of Japanese industry. Around 70% of the controllers used in these machine tools is manufactured by FANUC, and the company also wields increasing influence on the global market. The high-quality finish of FANUC products is unmatched elsewhere. FANUC also produces CAD/CAM software, providing everything a manufacturer might needs, from the controller, to the CNC machine tool, to the CAD/CAM systems.

Few companies worldwide have this kind of powerful network in place. The future of the company is rightly attracting a great deal of attention. FANUC’s most recent αi series of controllers feature useful new functionality, including larger numbers of axes through the introduction of multi-axis multi-path systems, enhanced feed accuracy, higher output and higher torque of main spindle, and greater applicability of power failure protection functions.


May 10, 2011

About the author
Eriko Kinashi is a reporter for Japanest NIPPON

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