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Products and innovations

Energy-efficient: Yaskawa robots with regenerative braking

Energy-efficient: Yaskawa robots with regenerative braking

Yaskawa offers a technical solution for the recovery of robot braking energy into the power grid – as a standard and without additional hardware. All larger MOTOMAN robot series with a payload upwards of approximately 50 kilogram and the latest YRC1000 robot controls are able to convert kinetic energy from down and sideways movements directly into 400 V AC at 50 Hz and feed it back into the net. Depending on its movement pattern, the robot’s energy requirements are therewith significantly reduced.

Prerequisite for this energy recovery is the standard YRC1000 robot controller in conjunction with the larger robots with payloads upwards of approximately 50 kilogram.

In their very diverse tasks – such as handling, palletizing, joining and processing – industrial robots make many down or sideways movements, during which the servomotors dissipate energy and potentially generate electricity. Up until now, in older or other robot models on the market, the resulting energy has been converted to waste heat by control technology through electrical resistance and lost to the environment.

In the Yaskawa solution, the electric energy is fed back into the operator network without additional hardware and reused. Savings in the eight to 25 per cent range can be anticipated. This may well result in annual feed-ins of about 2,800 kWh, with savings of about 1,600 kilogram CO2 and 1200 Euro.

With this hitherto unique technical solution, Yaskawa has applied its experience as manufacturer of drive technology – after all, all servo drives and control packages are in-house products, and accordingly optimal tailored to industrial robots. MOTOMAN robots open up further efficiency potential due to their slim and compact design with low moving masses and fast application of brakes during movement intervals, in order to switch off the active position control when not in use. 


Seam polishing robot in drum roller production
Photographer: Yaskawa Europe GmbH
Imposing: the YASKAWA R2C five-axis servo positioner with two stations for parallel loading and welding.
Photographer: Yaskawa Europe GmbH
Yaskawa MOTOMAN robots of different sizes are at the heart of the RCD; here a MOTOMAN GP8 with a payload of 8 kg.
Photographer: Yaskawa Europe GmbH
Guided by a MOTOMAN GP12, the measuring head scans the component to be inspected in detail, using a total of three different lasers.
Photographer: Yaskawa Europe GmbH

Product groups

Company profile

With annual sales of 479 billion yen (approximately 3.7 billion euros, fiscal year ended 28 February 2022), Yaskawa is a global technology supplier in the area of robotics, drive and control technology, as well as of solutions in the energy sector. Founded in Japan in 1915, Yaskawa has practiced the same philosophy for over 100 years, namely to deliver products of the highest quality, and in doing so has established itself at the top of the global market. Throughout this time, Yaskawa has evolved from a motor producer to an automation provider and finally, by way of the Industry 4.0 concept i3 mechatronics, to a solution provider.

Yaskawa’s business activities comprise the areas of drives (GA700 inverter drives), motion control (Sigma-7 servo drives, servo motors, machine controllers), robotics (MOTOMAN industrial robots, robot systems), system engineering (generators and converters) as well as information technology (software-based products). Since 2012, Yaskawa’s portfolio has also included control technology, visualization systems and chip solutions from the former VIPA GmbH in Herzogenaurach. The merger was legally finalized in October 2019, when the Profichip brand became a separate product division at Yaskawa known as “Profichip Embedded Solutions.” In October 2014, Yaskawa also acquired The Switch Engineering Ltd., operating in the sectors of wind, marine, and turbo/industrial applications.

Yaskawa is thus one of the few companies in the world able to offer components and solutions for virtually all sectors from a single source.

Thanks to substantial investments into research and development, the company has produced a large number of inventions, patents and innovations. This technological expertise has allowed the company divisions to achieve a leading market position in a wide range of industries, including: mechanical and plant engineering (packaging machines, pumps/compressors, textile machines, digital printing machines, manufacture of cranes and lifting equipment, systems for semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, machines for the harvesting/extraction and processing of wood, glass, metal, stone/soil) as well as the elevator industry, automotive construction and the field of assembly and handling applications. The industrial robots of the MOTOMAN brand are used, for example, for robot welding, laboratory automation, for packaging and handling applications as well as in the field of automated painting.

Based in Eschborn near Frankfurt in Germany, Yaskawa Europe GmbH comprises the Drives Motion Controls (automation, drive and control technology), Robotics (industrial robots, systems) and Environmental Energy (environmental engineering) business units, and services the markets of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the states of the former Soviet Union.