August 6. 2015 21:55
OITA (Jiji Press) —Canon Inc. said Tuesday it plans to fully automate domestic production of digital cameras as part of an effort to shift production back to Japan while reducing costs.
The company will invest about ¥13.3 billion to build a technology development facility in Kunisaki in Oita Prefecture by the end of next year. The facility will bring together about 500 engineers to create automation technologies, including robots. Canon plans to implement its new technologies in four domestic digital camera plants, in Oita, Nagasaki and Miyazaki Prefectures. The implementation will start in 2018 and take place in phases. Production of high-end models and their replacement lenses will also be automated.
Canon expects the automation to cut production costs by around 20 percent. Leveraged by lower costs, the company is aiming to raise the domestic proportion of its global camera production to 70 percent from the current 60 percent. The automation of the entire assembly process would reduce the necessary workforce by more than half. Excess workers will be transferred to other posts within the company.