Canon to cut cost using robots

Japanese electronics firm wants to cut at least 400 billion yen (US$4.84 billion) in cost over four years by increasing use industrial robots, says report.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Japanese electronics company Canon plans to cut at least 400 billion yen (US$4.84 billion) in cost in the next four years by increasing the use of industrial robots in its production line, says report.

A Reuters report Wednesday, citing Japanese daily Nikkei, said Canon planned to increase the use of industrial robots to make toners as well as introduce them into the production of interchangeable lenses for single-lens-reflex cameras.

The company's cost cutting measure is meant to cut down on the impact of a strong yen and Europe's economic slowdown, said the report. Canon believes that the Japanese currency's strong performance will decrease its operating profit by a little more than 100 billion Japanese yen (US$1.21 billion) compared to the previous year, it noted.

The company hopes to grow its sale to 5 trillion yen (US$60.5 billion) or higher in fiscal year 2015, a 41 percent increase from the year-ended December 2011, said the report.

The Japanese company is not the first to turn to robots as a cost cutting measure. Last year, Foxconn announced that it will be replacing factory workers with more than one million robots, according to reports.

In a past ZDNet Asia report, commenters believed that the rising cost of wages and government regulations will drive manufacturers in Asia to replace human workers with robots. However, labor groups complained that the move shows that companies are placing profit above employee benefits.

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