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Åke Lindqvist Elected New IFR President

POSTED 11/21/2008

Åke LindqvistThe International Federation of Robotics (IFR) elected unanimously , ABB Inc. as new President and Junji Jay Tsuda, Yaskawa Electric. Corp. as new Vice President at its Executive Board Meeting on 16 October 2008 in Seoul.  

The biannual meeting of IFR Executive Board members was held in Seoul on the occasion of the International Symposium on Robotics (ISR). At this meeting the IFR Executive Board  unanimously elected Åke Lindqvist of ABB Inc as their new President and Junji Jay Tsuda of Yaskawa Electric Corp. as the new Vice President. The incumbent President, Stefan Müller of KUKA Roboter GmbH, retired following his successful two-year presidency.

Stefan Müller was pleased about the election: “My two years as IFR President has been one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences in my long career in the robotics industry. Positive developments during this period include a restructured IFR, stronger representation for the industry, and a more stable financial footing after having brought the Secretariat and Statistical Department under one roof at the VDMA in Frankfurt. The election of Åke Lindqvist (ABB North America) and Junji Tsuda (Motoman Japan) as President and Vice-President respectively represents a sensible next step which also reflects the importance of their respective markets. I would hope to see countries such as China, Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia working together with us in the IFR in the near future, giving them representation in the only world-wide federation for industrial and service robots. In this and all their other undertakings I wish my successors and the entire IFR Executive Board every success.”

Åke Lindqvist thanked Stefan Müller  for all his tireless and successful efforts during his presidency. “I intend to follow in Stefan Müller’s  footsteps by further strengthening the IFR as the most important organization for the world robotics community. I will continue to promote the expansion of the community and hope to recruit new members, especially in the emerging robot markets. Furthermore, I will continue to improve the quality of the service that the IFR offers its members. I am looking forward to a close and fruitful cooperation with our members, the robot suppliers and integrators, the national associations, and the research institutes.”

Junji Tsuda continued: “It is my honor to be elected as VP of IFR. I am representing Japan where the population started aging rapidly and working population will be 10 million less in the year of 2030. We are looking forward to expanding the application of robots beyond the current capability of robots. I will assist new President, Mr. Lindqvist to promote robots.” 

The new IFR President, Åke Lindqvist, is Vice President and member of ABB Robotics Products Global Management Team. He came to ABB in 1973 and joined Robotics just after its start up. After an active role in the acquisition of Cincinnati Milacron’s Robot Division, he managed a part of the merged company from 1991 through 2005. Having held several leading international positions, and through his direct involvement in product R&D and market development, Åke Lindqvist has been one of the key individuals developing ABB Robotics into one of the leading robotics companies in the world.

He has a Master of Science degree from the Royal Technical University in Stockholm Sweden and an MBA in International Business Management.

In addition to his career at ABB, Åke Lindqvist has promoted the robotics industry as Past President of RIA, the Robotics Industry Association in North America, where he still serves on the board of Directors and is currently Chairman of the Statistics Committee.  He is Vice Chairman of ATC (Automation Technology Council), the governing board of RIA (Robotic Industries Association), AIA (Automation Imaging Association) and MCA (Motion Control Association).

Before Åke Lindqvist was elected President of IFR, he served as Vice President and Chairman of the IFR Robot Suppliers Group. He further supports the Swedish American business relations through the Board of Directors of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce.

Junji TsudaThe new IFR Vice President Junji Tsuda is member of the Board of Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Japan since 2005 and General Manager of the Robotics Division since 2007. He came to Yaskawa Electric Corporation in 1976 after completing the degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Between 1996 and 2003 he was member of the Executive Board of the Yaskawa Electric America Corporation in the United States as Vice President and General Manager of the Drives Systems Division and from 1998 as Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing of Yaskawa Electric America. When he returned to Japan he became Marketing Manager of the Motion Control Division and from 2004 General Manager of Drives. 

The past President Stefan Müller has worked more than 35 years for KUKA, Germany. During this period KUKA became one of the leading robot manufacturers in the world. He mainly influenced the success of the company especially as Managing Director (1988-2005). Now he is Senior Consultant of the Board of Management of KUKA Roboter GmbH. During his career he mainly influenced the national and international association work in the field of robotics. He has been Chairman of the Board of VDMA Robotics + Automation for 17 years. He is Honorary Chairman of the Board of VDMA Robotics + Automation and member of the VDMA Main Board. The VDMA is the umbrella organisation of the machinery industry in Germany. He is Chairman of the European robotics association EUnited Robotics.

About ABB, Inc.
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 120,000 people.

About ABB Robotics
ABB is a leading supplier of industrial robots – also providing robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells and service for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing and machine tending. Key markets include automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, electronics, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. A strong solutions focus helps manufacturers improve productivity, product quality and worker safety.  ABB has installed more than 160,000 robots worldwide. http:\\www.abb.com/robotics

About Yaskawa Electric Corporation
Yaskawa is a leading manufacturer of motion products such as servomotors, motion controllers, AC drives & systems and industrial robots with a history of over 90 years.  With its worldwide locations of manufacturing and service, Yaskawa assists global customers' business locally providing optimal solutions for each region.

About Yaskawa’s Robotics Business
Yaskawa provides automation solutions with application specific robots MOTOMAN series to various industries, including arc welding, spot welding, painting, material handling, flat panel display (FPD) glass substrate handling, wafer handling etc.  More than 210,000 units of MOTOMAN have been shipped from Yaskawa which accounts for 20% of global industrial robot installation. http:\\www.yaskawa.co.jp/en/

About the KUKA Robot Group
KUKA Roboter GmbH, Augsburg, is a member of the KUKA Aktiengesellschaft and ranks among the world’s leading suppliers of industrial robots. Core competencies are the development, production and sale of industrial robots, controllers, software and linear units. The company is the market leader in Germany and Europe, and the number three in the world. The KUKA Robot Group employs about 2,000 people worldwide. Of these, 1,200 are employed in Germany, either at the KUKA Robot Group headquarters in Augsburg, or at various subsidiaries. In 2007, sales totaled 413 million Euro. 25 subsidiaries provide a presence in the major markets of Europe, America and Asia. http:\\www.kuka-roboter.com

Junji J. Tsuda, Åke Lindqvist and Stefan Müller

The International Federation of Robotics was established in 1987 in connection with the 17th International Symposium on Robotics, as a professional non-profit organisation, by robotics organisations from over 15 countries. Since 1970 an International Symposium on Robotics is organised every year on a different continent, in a different country and another city. The Symposium is systematically organised in conjunction with an International Robot Exhibition.  The purpose of the International Federation of Robotics is to promote research, development, use and international co-operation in the entire field of robotics to act as a focal point for organisations and governmental representatives in activities related to robotics.

Gudrun Litzenberger
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