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Attention, please!

January 31 – Nagoya – The factories are alive with the sound of music.

These robots are hardly bound for Broadway, but following choreographed paths of magnetic tape along the floor they can keep the production line in harmony.

Carrying weight as well as carrying a tune, these CarryBee robots, are made by Nissan subsidiary Aichikikai Techno System, which began as an offshoot of Nissan’s Oppama plant.

The CarryBee assembly line

 

Each CarryBee is assembled by hand.

A maikon, or micro controller, is combined with a drive unit to make a dolly-type, low-type, custom or kit robot – for DIY manufacturers.

To date, some 1,450 bees have been buzzing around Nissan factories, with up to 400 made each year.

Nissan licenses the manufacture and sale of CarryBees, but Techno System developed its own patents.

Aichikikai Techno System President Kazuya Yoshida with a CarryBee

So what makes these CarryBees sing?

Aichikikai Techno System President Kazuya Yoshida says each robot is programmed with standard software for six songs, including Mary Had A Little Lamb and the theme to the Japanese cartoon Sazae-san.

“The six songs, based on the customers’ preference, they can freely choose the song using the dial. I think that the song that is used most often is Sazae-san,” says Yoshida.

That might be a familiar jingle for Japanese clients, including Toyota and Mitsubishi, but it’s also played at overseas factories, such as those of General Motors, Volkswagen, Fiat and Hyundai.

But the music’s main purpose:

“’Attention please!’ during normal running,” says Yoshida.

The robots are not only musical, they’re also smart, as some can automatically self-charge their 8-hour capacity lithium battery, or allow automatic train linking。

Yoshida says they might change the robots’ tunes in the future.

“The songs are currently standardized, but if it becomes necessary to support customers with that, there’s the possibility to change the songs.”

But for now, it’s “Play it again, Sazae-san.”

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