Robot Technology Plays Key Role in Smart Agriculture

Yaskawa Electric Corporation has been strengthening its collaboration with Japan’s National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (ZEN-NOH) to contribute to the development of the country’s agriculture sector.

Japan’s agriculture has many issues, including the declining manpower in the agriculture sector and the occurrence of destructive natural disasters. To develop safe and secure agriculture produce, smart agriculture, which employ sophisticated technologies, is gaining traction.

Yaskawa Electric and ZEN-NOH’s partnership started in Dec. 2018. Yaskawa Electric has been introducing the use of automation technologies in livestock raising, agricultural production, as well as in distribution and sales. At present, the company is demonstrating the automation cucumber harvesting at Dream Farm ZEN-NOH SAGA, a test agriculture farm in Japan’s Saga prefecture.

Since April, Yaskawa Electric has been seeking to bring to fruition smart agriculture. It has opened in March Yaskawa Technology Center to help realize Yaskawa Group’s goal of developing technology functions that will pursue smart agriculture.

Cucumber-harvesting robot at ZEN-NOH SAGA Dream Farm

i3-Mechatronics Concept

The ZEN-NOH Group has been contributing to the development of Japan’s agricultural industry, serving as a reliable link between producers and consumers. It gauges the sentiments of industry players across Japan on all aspects of production, distribution, and sales of farm crops. It also helps find ways on the next agricultural revolution that is to take place.

Meanwhile, as part of its 2025 Vision, Yaskawa Electric sets factory automation and optimization and applied technology of mechatronics as its core strategies. To focus on these strategies, the company has been propelling activities to use technologies it has accumulated over 100 years to promote automation in food production and agriculture fields. 

Yaskawa Electric partnership with ZEN-NOH hinge on four principles. First is to promote the use of industrial robot technology in the domestic agriculture field and second is to eliminate labor shortages in the agriculture production, process, and distribution fields. It also aims to alleviate the burden of labor on the field and improve efficiency and construct a new business model for a safe and secure supply system to the consumer market.

A robot sorts strawberries at Yaskawa Technology Center.

With its partnership with ZEN-NOH, the company wants a new style of automation in the agriculture field. To make this happen, the company will promote a formidable business model through its i3-Mechatronics, the company’s solution concept for industrial automation. The company also aims to maximize profits in growth markets through its i3-Mechatronics concept.

Food and agriculture are one of the new areas Yaskawa Electric is trying to expand. It aims to bring automation technology to new heights in food production process and agriculture and contribute to stable food supply.