PowerArm assists in work style reforms at sites with seasonal changes

Inaba Denki Sangyo Co., Ltd.

Inaba Denki Sangyo Co., Ltd. is engaged in a wide range of businesses, including sales of electrical construction materials, industrial equipment and manufacture of air conditioning related components.
The company's Ibaraki plant manufactures coated copper tubing used for home air conditioner piping, and it can be as heavy as 30kg. Therefore, it is difficult to load finished products on pallets manually.
Nevertheless, since the production volume varies greatly depending on the season, it is impractical to automate this work by introducing a collaborative robot or the like, considering the cost. That's why our human assist product “PowerArm” was adopted.


During the peak season, as many as 300 cases must be loaded in a day.

The Ibaraki factory of Inaba Electric Industries located in Chikusei, Ibaraki Prefecture.
This plant produces coated copper tubes used in the piping of home air conditioners, which are heavy and weigh close to 30kg.
During the busy season, 250 to 300 cases of the product must be loaded on pallets per day for shipment.
However, the Ibaraki Plant has only about 25 workers compared to other plants, and so some kind of consideration was needed in loading and unloading products.
It is not realistic to automate this task with collaborative robots, etc., given the cost, as the output varies greatly with the season.
In addition to heavy labor, labor shortages and costs were the bottlenecks.

Reasons for Adoption

Why did you introduce assistive devices instead of industrial robots?

But why was the introduction of a human-assistive device chosen as the solution?
"One reason is that we wanted to make the most of our space. Collaborative robots create inaccessible space to ensure safety - but we wanted to maximize our worksite."
In addition, the production of air-conditioning-related materials fluctuates greatly with the season. Therefore, the adoption of Collaborative robots was not realistic in terms of cost effectiveness."
In other words, human-assistive products were not only effective in reducing workload, but also a solution that could meet various needs such as space saving and cost.

In addition to its own product business, which manufactures and sells products related to air conditioning, fire prevention, water supply system, and others, Inaba Electric Industry is also engaged in the electrical installation materials and the industrial equipment businesses.
In the industrial equipment business, the company also handles industrial robots. In other words, PowerArm is a human-assistive product that is highly evaluated by customers who handle industrial robots.

Effects post introduction

In addition to functionality and safety, the product is also highly evaluated for its potential for expanding applications.

Among the many human-assistive products available, the PowerArm was chosen because "it could be folded compactly on the floor, and it can be used for a wide range of applications.
The fact that the joints of the device have no gaps where fingers can enter was also a deciding factor in the decision.
Specifically, "Work has become easier," "The equipment motion is from the bottom up, and so it is nice to be able to work without worrying about the overhead space,"
"The semi-automated, human-handled product is safe to use, thanks to the excellent attention to detail in preventing pinching and malfunctions," were some of the comments.

Comfortable for workers - for a truly safe work environment

The benefits of installing PowerArms are not limited to direct reductions in workload and improved work efficiency.
The fact that we were able to create an environment in which anyone can engage in heavy-duty work, regardless of gender or physical strength, is also important in promoting diversity.
This is possible because our human-assist product, PowerArm, is used for loading and unloading.
Furthermore, this initiative has become a successful example of work style reforms, and there is a growing atmosphere of "Let's make improvements here and there," throughout the company.
It seems that this was an opportunity to further accelerate the work style reform of Inaba Electric Industry.

Overview video