Nidec is to start selling factory automation and robotics systems this year, according to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review.
According to the report in Nikkei, the business will develop and test the robots it builds in its own factories first before offering them to outside companies.
Vice chairman Mikio Katayama is said to have a vision of restructuring the business around the “smart factory” concept, one where all machines and infrastructure is connected, automated and digitalised.
Some companies have built highly automated factories which are classed as smart factories but the trend is relatively new, and difficult to achieve without advanced technology and entirely new skills, often in software development, as opposed to skills in hardware development, the traditional strongpoint for the industrial sector.
Nidec is also developing service robots for cleaning, security, and customer relations.
Meanwhile, Drives and Controls magazine reports that Nidec has added two more European businesses to its portfolio: the German compressor manufacturer, Secop (formerly known as Danish Compressors) and Italian pump and motor producer, LGB Elettropompe.
Secop makes compressors for domestic and commercial refrigerators. Its compact, variable-speed compressors result in high-efficiency fridges with more storage space. Nidec is combining Secop with several other subsidiaries to create the Nidec Global Appliance division, with three factories in Europe, one in China and one in Mexico. This new division will focus on motors for appliances such as washing machines, dryers and dishwashers.
Nidec believes that the refrigerator market, which needs 170 million compressors per year, offers attractive growth opportunities. It adds that its expertise in brushless DC motors will help to make Secop more competitive.