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Looking to cut lead times for delivery of its robots, Yushin America Inc., a supplier of Japanese-made robots, is boosting its manufacturing operations in Cranston, R.I.

Yushin robots remove parts from injection molding machines. Yushin America's joint venture partner, Yushin Precision Equipment Co. Ltd., has been fully assembling all the robots, as orders came in, at the latter's plant in Kyoto, Japan.

Yushin America has been manufacturing conveying systems and end-of-arm tooling for the robots. But until now, Yushin has forwarded machines, already completely assembled in Japan, to North American customers, according to inside sales manager Charles Clarke.

Beginning in mid-1997, Yushin America will put together subassemblies shipped from Japan, he said. The Rhode Island firm will configure robots to meet user specifications for options such as stroke and the type of drive. Initially, the operation will assemble robots for Yushin's most-popular models, for use on injection molding presses with 150-350 tons of clamping force. The production of larger models will begin in 1998.

John M. Mallon IV, president of Yushin America, said quick delivery is the main reason for more U.S. assembly. The company has freed 15,000 square feet of space in Cranston for an assembly area.

``The new U.S. manufacturing facility will mean closer communications between customers and the factory,'' Mallon said.

``Turnaround, from receipt of order to delivery, will be greatly expedited.''

Yushin America's existing work force will do the assembly, but the company may hire more employees in the future, according to Clarke.

Yushin robots include sprue pickers, traverse robots and side-entry robots.