ABB Robots support the world class maintenance of Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train

Tokaido Shinkansen is the world’s first high speed rail and has the longest history in Japan. Over 50 years, it has been serving as the main artery of Japan, connecting Japan’s largest cities such as Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. The Shinkansen is loved by people, and particularly popular among railroad fans and children.

Safe, accurate, frequent and fast operation of this important transport infrastructure, which carries enormous number of passengers everyday, is thoroughly supported by its maintenance factory in Hamamatsu. All the Shinkansen go through the maintenance at this factory every 36 months or every 1,200,000km running distance whichever comes earlier.

The Hamamatsu Factory is currently under the large scale upgrade process from 2010 and when completed, it will be a state-of-the-art maintenance base. Robot automation of sanding of Shinkansen nose is one of the symbolic high-tech process. The factory was recently disclosed to the media and to the public and attracted a lot of attention.

Due to Shinkansen nose’s streamlined and complexed shape, sanding process for better re-painting results used be done by manual labor. In order to improve safety and efficiency of the process, JR Tokai replaced this process with robotics automation.

ABB’s Integrated Force Control was the enabler of the robot automation of the process. Integrated Force Control uses real-time tactile sensor feedback to handle process variations with the sensitivity of the human hand while shortening programming time by as much as 70 percent. In the process to sand complexed surface such as Shinkansen nose, it can fine-control the torque to the surface and attain constant finish quality. Having combined this technology to Panasonic’s sanding technology and know-how, it brought benefits such as much shorter cycle time, safety, integration of multiple process, unmanned operation and improvement of finish quality.
Even after the commencement of operation, with ABB’s robotics programming software, RobotStudioⓇ our service team remotely support the customer in flexible and timely manner for minor adjustments.

Local Business Unit Manager, Robotics, Shuichiro Nakajima says, “We are proud that ABB’s unique technology, Integrated Force Control and ABB robots are supporting sustainable operation of Tokaido Shinkansen, world class high speed rail. We are also very pleased that we had a great opportunity to collaborate with Panasonic Environment Engineering in offering optimal solution for our end customer.” 

In this project, ABB delivered 6 units of IRB 6650S, IRC5 controllers, Integrated Force Control, RobotStudioⓇ,etc.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 136,000 employees.

YouTube: ABB Robotics - JR Tokai Case in Japan