2/16/2011 | 1 MINUTE READ

Japanese Robots Save U.S. Jobs?

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In a twist on the workings of the global economy, a Japan-based company is leading an initiative to keep American manufacturing jobs from going overseas. fanuc Robotics America, Inc. (Rochester Hills, MI), a subsidiary of fanuc Ltd., of Japan, is spearheading an effort called "Save Your Factory" which is designed to promote the proposition that American companies can save just as much or more money by automating key production processes as they can by moving operations to low-wage countries.

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In a twist on the workings of the global economy, a Japan-based company is leading an initiative to keep American manufacturing jobs from going overseas. Fanuc Robotics America, Inc. (Rochester Hills, MI), a subsidiary of Fanuc Ltd., of Japan, is spearheading an effort called "Save Your Factory" which is designed to promote the proposition that American companies can save just as much or more money by automating key production processes as they can by moving operations to low-wage countries. Rick Schneider, president and CEO of FANUC Robotics America, Inc., says that the program was started in part because it became clear that the decision to move plants to low-wage countries was being made by companies that hadn't looked closely at other alternatives. "A lot of times people are simply implementing a CEO's order to move a facility to China, rather than looking for the most cost-effective solution." He wants to supply companies with comparative cost data and case studies that might at least lead them to consider staying in the U.S. An irony is that automation, long decried for displacing workers, is being used as a tool to save jobs. But as Schneider points out, the alternative to having some people replaced by robots is losing every job in the factory.—KEW

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