Factory VisitSodick America

Koji Yoneda CEO Interview with Koji Yoneda CEO Developing the "brain" of machines that support worldwide manufacture.
Software engineer who commands at the forefront of technology.
Interviewer: Miki Shimamura, Caribou Inc.

Entered Sodick in 1996. Gained a deeper understanding of the software in Sodick products as a member of the Software Development Department at the Fukui Plant Research and Development Division. Subsequently transferred to the Yokohama Head Office and researched other manufacturers' products related to linear motors and motion controllers, and worked on PLC development. When Sodick America was established in 2000, he was selected as a member of a development team for Sodick motion controllers and moved to America. After becoming CEO of Sodick America in 2012, he continues with daily development work as a software engineer while managing the U.S. and Japanese staff.

Sodick America developed the motion controllers and
NC units now incorporated in most Sodick products.

Please tell us about Sodick America's development work to date
in detail.

There are three major developments.
As Sodick America was established for the in-house manufacture of motion controllers (*1) suitable for linear motors, about two years were spent in developing the K-SMC motion controller. This K-SMC was installed in a machining center in 2003 and was subsequently incorporated in die-sinker and wire-cut electrical discharge machines released later. In 2007 we developed an improved version, named SILINK. On the hardware front, SILINK replaces multiple cables with a single LAN cable to greatly simplify assembly.
Our main work at the moment is the development of a NC unit (*2) that contains a motion controller.
In 2013, we developed M4LINK. I will explain the details later on but this M4LINK is used in machining centers and wire-cut EDMs. *1 The role of a motion controller is to control the rapid and accurate movements of linear motors based on commands from the NC unit. They provide the “nervous” of Sodick products. *2 A NC unit is a numerical control device that controls the operation of machine tools or robots using numerical information and servo mechanisms.
They act as the “brain” of Sodick products.

Mr. Yoneda, you were selected as one of the four original members when Sodick first developed its own motion controller.
How did you get to that point?

I entered the company at just the time that Sodick started thinking about adopting linear motors.
As the company was attempting to do something new, it was perfect timing for me to be involved in development work.
After I became a member of the project, I studied how the motion controllers that we sourced from outside the company at that time drove linear motors, from the very basics. A company was then established in the United States to develop our own motion controllers and I was lucky enough to be selected as a member of that company, which led to where I am today.

What is the major development achieved by Sodick America?

It has to be the "M4LINK" NC unit that we worked on from 2010. It combines the "SILINK" motion controller developed by Sodick America with NC unit technology developed by Sodick over many years to achieve highly accurate control of linear motors.