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FANUC’s new AI functions utilizing machine learning and deep learning

Tokyo, Japan, April 16, 2018 — FANUC CORPORATION (hereinafter, FANUC) in collaboration with Preferred Networks, Inc. (hereinafter, PFN) has developed new AI functions that apply machine learning or deep learning to its FA, ROBOT, and ROBO-MACHINE products.


FA:AI Servo Tuning (Machine Learning)

FANUC has developed AI Feed Forward as the first to come out of its development efforts in a group of AI Servo Tuning functions that realize high-speed, high-precision, high-quality machining. It utilizes machine learning to easily tune parameters for controlling servo motors in a sophisticated manner. AI Feed Forward is a feed-forward controller based on a high-dimensional model that represents mechanical characteristics more accurately. This model has too many parameters to tune manually as has been done up to now. Therefore, machine learning is used in the process to determine parameters for this advanced feed-forward control. AI Feed Forward offers high-quality machining as it reduces mechanical vibration caused when servo motors accelerate or decelerate.

Shipment estimated to start in April 2018


ROBOT:AI Bin Picking (Deep Learning/FIELD System Application)

 FANUC released AI Bin Picking FIELD application with 3D object scoring function to identify suitable picking order with higher success rate. This Deep Learning based application enables FANUC Robot Bin Picking system to learn the picking order automatically, and reduces robot user’s burden of the lengthy manual setup process. Also, this function makes FANUC Robot to pick up the object with higher success rate, which had only been possible with detail parameter tuning by experienced operators. Picking success rate can be even improved by creating Deep Learning trained model for each workpiece type. 


Right: Picking robot system with sensor (Demo unit)

Shipment started in April 2018


ROBOMACHINE:AI Thermal Displacement Compensation (Machine Learning)

FANUC has developed and begun selling an AI thermal displacement compensation function for FANUC’s ROBODRILL series, following the release of the same AI function for its wire-cut electric discharge machine ROBOCUT in November last year. The second AI function is for ROBOMACHINE and utilizes machine-learning technology to predict and compensate for the thermal displacement caused by temperature fluctuations, which are detected by the thermal sensors measuring ambient temperatures as well as ROBODRILL’s temperature rise while in motion. Machining accuracy has improved by about 40%, compared with an existing function. Furthermore, the optimal placement of the thermal sensors and the effective use of thermal data enable it to continue to perform optimal compensation without interrupting machining work even if there is sensor malfunction.

ROBOCUT with the first AI thermal displacement compensation function (released on November 2017)

ROBODRILL with the second AI thermal displacement compensation function

Shipment started in March 2018 (already released)


Comment from Toru Nishikawa,
President & CEO of Preferred Networks

“We have been working with FANUC on the AI Bin Picking project since the commencement of our R&D alliance in 2015. I feel it is of great significance that we announce its release today as the first product to apply deep learning to robots. We will continue to bring a new value to manufacturing floors by stepping up our efforts to introduce to the market smart robots and machine tools that utilize deep learning in a broader field.”

Preventive Maintenance Feature of Injection Molding Machine Using AI (Deep Learning)

FANUC CORPORATION (hereinafter, FANUC) and Preferred Networks, Inc. (hereinafter, PFN) have jointly developed AI Backflow Monitor that performs preventive maintenance on FANUC’s electric injection molding machine ROBOSHOT α-SiA series. This is the latest example of our joint initiative to apply deep learning to machine tools.

AI Backflow Monitor uses deep learning to evaluate and predict the wear state of ROBOSHOTs consumable parts (non-return valve) to let operators know before a part starts to malfunction. A conventional method requires that operators visually check waveform data for shape changes that indicate backflow of resin to assess the wear and estimate the replacement timing of the valve. The new feature utilizes the deep learning techniques to effectively analyze the waveform and digitize the wear amount, enabling it to notify operators of the best timing to replace the valve.

Additionally, AI Backflow Monitor takes advantage of its Edge Heavy feature to process data mainly on ROBOSHOT-LINKi, not in the cloud.

AI Backflow Monitor will be provided as an optional feature that can improve the operating rate of ROBOSHOT through preventive maintenance. (FANUC plans to begin taking orders in January next year.)

ROBOSHOT with this new feature will be exhibited at International Plastic Fair 2017, which will be held in Makuhari Messe from Oct. 24-28.

FANUC and PFN will continue to work together and make steady progress, step by step, towards realizing innovative and advanced manufacturing fields using AI.

ROBOSHOT α-SiA series:

High-level system structure

AI (Machine Learning) Improves Wire-cut EDM Accuracy

FANUC CORPORATION (hereinafter, FANUC) in collaboration with Preferred Networks, Inc. (hereinafter, PFN) has developed an AI thermal displacement compensation function which will improve the machining accuracy of ROBOCUT α-CiB series, FANUC’s wire-cut electric discharge machine (see Note 1 below). ROBOCUT with this function will be the first product using AI since FANUC and PFN began collaborating.


FANUC and PFN formed an R&D alliance*1 in June 2015, followed by a capital alliance*2 in August of the same year to promote a joint development of AI functions for the manufacturing industry that can efficiently improve the performance and operation rates of FANUC products. The newly developed function utilizes machine-learning (ML) technology to predict and control the variable machining accuracy caused by ROBOCUT’s temperature fluctuations, with 30% more accurate compensation than existing method. The new function is applicable from small to large workpieces.

The AI thermal displacement compensation function will be provided as an optional function to ROBOCUT, and FANUC plans to start accepting orders in November of this year. FANUC will also display the ROBOCUT with this new function at Mechatronics Technology Japan, which will be held in Port Messe Nagoya on Oct. 18-21, 2017.

ROBOCUT α-CiB series

FANUC is also developing a similar function for the ROBODRILL series that utilizes ML and expect to release it in the near future.
FANUC and PFN will continue making gradual but steady progress towards realizing innovative manufacturing fields through AI.

“It is my pleasure to announce our first product based on the machine-learning technology since the tie-up with FANUC. Through this product, we can demonstrate using ML is effective in optimizing control parameters, which is one of the most important issues facing the manufacturing industry. PFN will continue to contribute to the intelligence of machine tools and robots by applying machine learning and deep learning techniques.”
Toru Nishikawa, Chief Executive Officer of PFN


*1 Announcement for R&D alliance with FANUC Corporation
*2 Announcement for capital tie-up between FANUC and PFN


Note 1. Wire-cut EDM is a precision and fine shape machining tool that uses discharge phenomenon between the ultrathin wire electrode and the metal workpiece (electric conductor).