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At the forefront of factory automation

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Interview - September 4, 2020

Some of OPTON’s innovations have included the world’s first robotic pipe bender series for high-precision bending and a non-contact 3D profiler to measure pipes.

 

TERUAKI YOGO, PRESIDENT, OPTON
TERUAKI YOGO | PRESIDENT OF OPTON

Can you tell us more about your latest technology, the APC-type CNC control device?

Based on the know-how gained through 50 years of development of production machinery with automatic control systems, OPTON has developed and patented the world’s first APC-type CNC control device that automatically generates control programs for production systems. In the future, we believe that new pipe benders and FA systems applying this control device will greatly contribute to the development of our customers. Furthermore, we will adapt the APC-type CNC control device to our pipe benders, and at the same time, we plan to sell the product as a single unit to machine manufacturers and the FA system production industry. Through these, we would like to contribute to the improvement of world productivity as much as possible.

 

What advantages does the APCtype have over conventional control devices?

The conventional method is to draw the machine operations with a flowchart based on the IEC standard, convert it to an intermediate language, then convert it to machine language, which is the control language of the program. Not only does this method require advanced skills for IT programmers, it also demands a lot of
time to develop programs, which is leading to a shortage of IT engineers. This is a worldwide phenomenon. In order to overcome the weaknesses of the conventional system, we decided to develop the APC-type CNC control system. Features of the newly developed APC-type controller:

1) In order to break away from the IEC fl ow chart, we developed the YOGO chart which can autogenerate machine control programs. We have patented this chart.

2) Compared to the conventional fl ow chart, the YOGO chart takes about 1/10th of the time to draw the machine operation.

3) The YOGO chart was designed so that a machine designer, who knows the operation of the machine well, can easily draw it. The control program can be auto-generated without a conventional IT engineer. The program can be customized by just editing the chart.

4) If you click the ‘Generate’ button, in about three seconds the YOGO chart will be converted to machine language by translation script software, and then saved in to the control memory.

5) The control script software sends the machine language in the memory to the appropriate drive source to execute the control. The above tells us that the APC CNC control unit can be used for both PLC and CNC control; a machine designer can draw a YOGO chart using the same method. If you click the ‘Generate’ button when the chart is completed, the control program automatically generates the chart. This device will be applied in production plants around the world, and contribute to labor reduction, energy efficiency, and cost reduction. OPTON has been pioneering innovation for six decades.

 

What is your business model for the future?

Since OPTON was established 60 years ago, we aimed to unify through our motto, “no imitation, no subcontracting, and transparent management.” We have a group of approximately 200 engineers including outside forces, who specialize in developing creative production equipment with IT applications. We have experienced many hardships over the past 60 years, but we have never had a large deficit, and our business has been running stably. The reason for this is: the passion of our employees in developing products; developing production machines for IT application that we provided to the pipe processing industry that matched the needs of that time; having a wide range of machines that are necessary for factory automation; and having the most recent success with the development of the APC CNC contr ol s ystem. Our business model for the future is to apply the APC CNC control device to our pipe processing FA production system. We also want to develop a series of non-contact 3D profilers, and sell them internally and externally. External forces like forming partnerships with large companies (with capital and patented technology) will greatly contribute to our company growth and employee unity.

 

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