Hirata's company history started in 1951 in Japan. Yasunari Hirata founded Hirata Sharyo Industrial Co., Ltd. in Kumamoto to manufacture and market industrial vehicles. In the following years, the product range changes from agricultural trailers, belts and slot conveyors to complete assembly lines for industrial production. In 1964 Hirata delivers its first television assembly line. At the end of the 1970s, Hirata starts developing robot systems and control systems in Japan.
Hirata begins developing the first CNC controllers and linear axes in Japan. In the following years, a small team of highly qualified engineers realises the first SCARA robot model AR-300 and the matching controller HAC-01. Series production of the robots and their use in various assembly lines in the electronics industry in Japan starts from this point.
Hirata exhibits SCARA robots and linear axis robots at the Hannover Industrial exhibition for the first time and signs an agency agreement with a German machine trading company to distribute the devices in Germany in the same year.
The first sales successes are achieved. One of the first customers is the Grundig company, which automates the assembly of a cassette drive assembly using SCARA robots from Hirata. To publicise the new technology within the group, a video is shot of the production line.
The second generation of SCARA robots and linear axis robots is launched. The AR-H series is available in three model sizes. The best-selling model is the AR-H300 with the associated HAC-04 controller. Hella uses several of these robots in an assembly line at its plant in Recklinghausen. The devices remain in use for over 15 years.
The first assembly line equipped with SCARA robots for mounting printed circuit boards with large wired components is installed by Hirata at SEL Graetz in Bochum.
The third generation of SCARA robots, the AR-i series is completely developed and ready for sale. For the first time ever, a multitasking-capable controller is offered for SCARA robots. It enables not only the control of the robot, but also the control of the periphery without an additional PLC. Many of these robots are used as soldering robots at the Philips company.
Hirata develops one of the first SCARA robots with direct drive and receives the innovation prize of the Japanese business newspaper "Nihon Keizai Shinbun" for this technical achievement.
The next generation of SCARA robots is launched. The AR-C series with new control, based on 32-bit processor technology, and the new HARL-III programming language is available.
Hirata Robotics GmbH in Germany is founded in November 1993 to take over the sales activities for Hirata robots in Europe, especially for the German-speaking countries. In addition to the distribution of the robots, complete semi-standardised automation solutions are now also offered, where the robot is the heart of the system. Examples are soldering robot stations as well as pallet magazine and tray changing systems for small parts.
With the AR-S series, the fifth generation of SCARA robots comes into distribution. In addition, the linear axes have been completely revised and converted to the new drive technology. The new control system has digital motor controls and multitasking for 32 tasks as well as the further development of the HARL-III programming language.
Introduction of selectable standardised I/O fieldbus technologies. From now on, the controllers can be equipped with Interbus-S, Profibus or other bus systems.
The SCARA robots of the AR-S series and the linear axis robots are available with absolute encoders. The volume of the proven station control is reduced to 1/3 of the previous size through highly integrated components. In addition, the station control is now also available as a PC-based software solution.
Hirata Robotics GmbH celebrates 25 years of Hirata robots and 10th anniversary in Germany. All SCARA robots of the AR-S series and the linear systems of the CRZ and CRW series are equipped with absolute encoders.
The HAC-854CE robot controller is now also available as an "embedded controller" in a standard industrial control cabinet. The AR-W cleanroom robot series is expanded by four robot models that can be operated in low or high vacuum.
The SCARA robot series AR-S with absolute encoders is extended by a model variant for wall mounting. Development of the ALC-600 palletising system, which is particularly suitable for simple palletising tasks, e.g. when used on injection moulding or machine tools. Development of the portable, multifunctional hand-held operating device H-5700 for embedded robot controllers. Here, the functions of the classic robot teach pendant and the operating panel of the entire system are combined in one device.
Development of the palletiser model LCP-600E with freely programmable handling device and the tray changing system model TLC especially for the supply and removal of trays with low autonomy and the semi-automated area. A framing machine was developed for the production of solar panels.
Mit Wirkung zum 1.8. 2011 wird aus der Hirata Robotics GmbH die Hirata Engineering Europe GmbH. Mit dieser Namensänderung trägt das Unternehmen der Tatsache Rechnung, dass der Standort in Deutschland zur neuen Europazentrale der Hirata-Gruppe ausgebaut und ein Imagewechsel vollzogen wird. Wie schon die Muttergesellschaft in Japan ist Hirata Engineering Europe nun breiter aufgestellt und wandelt sich vom „klassischen“ Roboteranbieter zum Lieferanten für komplette Maschinen und Anlagen.
The versatile VC75C transport system was developed especially for use in engine and transmission assembly. First major order from the automotive sector in Europe.
Yasunari Hirata, the founder of the parent company Hirata Corporation, Japan, dies on 7.8.2012 at the age of 83.
Hirata's headquarters in Japan were moved from Tokyo to Kumamoto.
Hirata Engineering Europe develops the SAST palletising system, automating the palletising of trays or KLTs directly from standard floor rollers, which are increasingly used for in-house material logistics.
Hirata Engineering Europe has received a large order from an automotive OEM in the premium sector to build a completely automated assembly plant for drive components in Germany. These components will then be installed in electric vehicles.
Hirata Engineering Europe is expanding its location in Mainz in response to future development trends in the field of electric mobility. The entire Powertrain division, which deals with the planning, design and manufacture of systems for the production of transmissions, motors and batteries for the automotive industry, is moving into its own production bulidung with adjoining offices in Mainz-Hechtsheim.