Rochester Hills, Mich. — Automation firm Fanuc America Corp. will open a centralized center in Pontiac, Mich., for systems integration and the distribution of parts and robots — the first time these functions have been under one roof.
Company officials expect the Pontiac facility be in full production by mid-May.
Fanuc America, based in Rochester Hills, handles all business in the Americas, for Fanuc articulating-arm and other forms of robots and factory automation — used in automotive as well as a diverse range of other industries, including plastics processing.
A key part of the business is designing and assembling automotive painting robots in Rochester Hills. Fanuc America sources nearly all the components domestically, said Robert Fincher, vice president of manufacturing operations, purchasing, information systems and facilities.
Fanuc's yellow robots — the well-known robot brand color — are manufactured in Japan by parent Fanuc Corp. Employees at the Americas headquarters in Michigan put together systems, and can work on tooling and other features for new automation, and they also handle parts shipping functions.
But Fincher said today, 95 percent of Fanuc America's parts and robots are warehoused offsite, which is handled by a third party. “Today we have the lag,” he said. “We always have to bring those parts in. There's a lag time, transportation time.”
Fanuc America's new Pontiac manufacturing/systems integration and parts distribution center, just five miles away from the Rochester Hills headquarters, will solve that issue.
“The purpose is, first off, on manufacturing — the demand is there. We need more space,” Fincher said. “On the parts and robot distribution side, our customers are looking to have shorter lead times. So the best way for us to do that is to house the robots and the parts in the same facility where we can literally ship a robot, customized to the customer's specs, within one day. That's the goal.”
Fincher and Catherine Powell, industry marketing/program manager, outlined Fanuc America's plans for the center in Pontiac, in an interview April 6 in Rochester Hills. Fanuc America had announced the Pontiac news the day before.
Fincher said Pontiac will be split about 50/50 between systems integration and distribution of parts and robots.
In addition to Pontiac, Fanuc America also announced plans to add sales and service facilities facility in Seattle for the first time. The company also will relocate customer services offices from Dallas to Houston.
Fanuc America also will enhance the training centers at its offices in San Francisco, Chicago and Charlotte, N.C.
Fanuc American runs 25 sales and service locations in the Americas. The automation maker also uses 400 authorized systems integrators.
About 1,400 people work at the 372,000-square-foot Fanuc America headquarters in Rochester Hills. More than a thousand of them work in the Customer Technology Center, were engineers and technicians work directly with customers, and run labs for robot skills like welding and joining, material handling and painting.