The manufacturing industry lost a giant on Oct. 2, 2020, when Dr. Seiuemon Inaba, founder and honorary chairman of FANUC, died of natural causes. He was 95 years old. Dr. Inaba significantly contributed to the development of the robotics industry in Japan and around the world and helped make FANUC a world leader in industrial automation solutions.
"Dr. Seiuemon Inaba was one of the true visionaries of the modern manufacturing technology industry. He made Fanuc a dominant worldwide player by driving innovation and creativity together with attention to detail, performance, and connection to the customer that many would emulate over the decades," said AMT President Doug Woods. "There is a pretty small number of people you can truly call legends of the manufacturing technology industry over the last 50 years, but clearly, Dr. Inaba is one of them!"
Dr. Inaba founded Fanuc at the beginning of 1972 as a spin-off of his employer at the time, Fujitsu, and made industrial history with many of his developments. He is the pioneer of flexible automation systems, known as numerical control (NC). Early in his career, he developed NC for commercial purposes and invented the electro-hydraulic pulse motor for servomechanisms, which led to the rapid adoption of NC machine tools to reduce total cost in engineering and manufacturing. He is credited with being the first Japanese industrialist to build and operate an automated factory with NC machine tools and robots.
Dr. Inaba is a former president of the Japan Society of Precision Engineering and a recipient of his country's highest honors, including the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon and the Medal of Honor with Blue Ribbon.
Dr. Inaba's influence on the industry lives on.