• Kyodo News

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Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. will build a plant to manufacture industrial robots, possibly near an existing facility in Hyogo Prefecture, by the end of the 2008 business year, company officials said Tuesday.

The move is aimed at meeting higher demand from automakers, which use robots for such operations as welding and painting, now that they are expanding globally, the officials said.

The facility will be the first domestic robot plant to be opened by Kawasaki Heavy in about four decades, since mass production began at its factory in Akashi in 1969.

The new plant will raise capacity by 50 percent to 12,000 units.

Kawasaki’s consolidated robot sales are forecast to reach 50 billion yen by fiscal 2010, up from 42 billion yen in fiscal 2005.

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