Press release

Panasonic Signs Joint Business Development Agreement with Startup Linkwiz to Enhance Welding Processes in Manufacturing

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On June 17, 2019, Panasonic Corporation (TOKYO: 6752) announced that it
has signed a joint business development agreement with Linkwiz,
— a startup company specializing in the development and sales
of autonomous robotic system software and technical consulting — to
develop solutions to enhance welding processes in the manufacturing
field. The agreement is being undertaken by Panasonic’s Connected
Solutions Company.

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Yasu Higuchi, CEO of Panasonic's Connected Solutions Company (left) and Go Fukino, President of Link ...

Yasu Higuchi, CEO of Panasonic’s Connected Solutions Company (left) and Go Fukino, President of Linkwiz, Inc. (right) (Photo: Business Wire)

Under its “Gemba Process Innovation” vision, Panasonic is expanding its
B2B solutions business. “The ‘gemba,’ or physical site for frontline
operations, is where value is generated and problems must be
confronted,” explained Yasu Higuchi, CEO of the Connected Solutions
Company. “By applying our 100-years of experience and expertise gained
in the manufacturing industry with our sensing technologies and edge
devices, Panasonic aims to co-create with our customers and partners to
solve problems at the gemba. We are advancing the Gemba Process
Innovation vision with offerings to the three main areas of
manufacturing, logistics and retail.”

In recent years, these industries in Japan in particular are facing
pressure to improve and innovate processes as they become impacted by
societal issues including a rapidly declining labor force, stagnant
productivity, a drastic increase in the volume of logistics, a shift to
a smarter and more automated society, and demand for work style reforms.
Under such conditions, especially in the welding processes for
automotive manufacturing, there is a shortage of expert workers due to
difficulties in passing on technical knowledge. Moreover, with
heightened environmental concern driving the expanded use of EVs, there
are additional challenges to make vehicles lighter in weight and higher
in strength by integrating new materials; and from a safety standpoint,
to maintain a high level of quality over the long term and to strictly
control manufacturing traceability.

Panasonic began its welding equipment business in 1957, and over the
past 60 years has been providing welding systems and robots for the
automotive, construction machinery and shipbuilding industries. On its
side, Linkwiz has been developing and selling industrial-use robot
control system software which utilizes proprietary algorithms. Linkwiz’s
main products include software to control robots used for welding and
paint application, and software for conducting automated inspection of
each piece coming off a production line. Linkwiz’s products have already
been adopted by a number of major enterprise customers.

Through this collaboration, Panasonic will combine its expertise in
manufacturing operations cultivated over its long history with Linkwiz’s
knowhow in autonomous robotic system software to optimize welding
processes in the three stages of cutting, welding and inspection; and
through this, make a contribution to the advancement of the
manufacturing industry by addressing the pressing issues of labor
shortage and quality enhancement.

Panasonic plans to further expand its partner ecosystem in order to
promote its Gemba Process Innovation vision, becoming a total integrator
for frontline operations in diverse fields.


Linkwiz Overview

Company name:   Linkwiz, Inc.
Founded: March 2015
Headquarters: Hamamatsu city, Shizuoka pref., Japan
Representative: President: Go Fukino
Operations: Development and sales of autonomous robotic system software and
technical consulting


About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development of
diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the
consumer electronics, housing, automotive, and B2B businesses. The
company, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018, has
expanded globally and now operates 582 subsidiaries and 87 associated
companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of 8.003 trillion
yen for the year ended March 31, 2019. Committed to pursuing new value
through innovation across divisional lines, the company uses its
technologies to create a better life and a better world for its
customers. To learn more about Panasonic:

Panasonic Signs Joint Business Development
Agreement with Startup Linkwiz to Enhance Welding Processes in

Related Links

[Video] Accelerating “Gemba Process Innovation” via Partnership

[Video] Expediting Innovations and Co-creation – Panasonic Executive

[Press Release] Panasonic to Open New B2B ‘Customer Experience Center’
in Tokyo in January (Dec 17, 2018)