Karakuri (からくり) Automation Systems

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Nov 30, 2020 2:42:44 PM

Karakuri ningyo (からくり人形) are traditional Japanese automated puppets with origins dating back to the 7th century. Eventually, they gained widespread popularity around 17th century Edo period in Japan, when a theater opened in Osaka with Karakuri puppets on stage. These dolls relied solely on mechanical components such as springs or cams and clever engineering techniques to produce life-like movements, such as a tea serving doll or an archer doll which loads an arrow in his bow and shoots them one by one. Fast forward to present day 2020, and we live in an age where programmable logic controllers enable precise control sequences in millisecond increments, and 6-axis robots configure a completely automated production line. We now integrate sophisticated electronic controls to fulfill our industrial automation requirements.

However, there are still industrial automation processes that can be done by a fully mechanical, “Karakuri” type system. These systems would require no electricity, which could help achieve a green manufacturing target that may be required in a plant. Having no electronic controls also means lower cost, making integration of this type of automation affordable in situations where cost is a key


View this video for an example of a “Karakuri” automated material handling system, which sends part bins down a track, indexes to an elevator section, and lowers the part bin to the floor level. Once the bin is removed from the carriage, the sequence repeats itself automatically. By means of the Robotunits material handling components, extrusions, and linear motion units, a robust automated bin indexing system can be configured with only the weight of the bin itself as the driving force for motion. Further information available on this link to our website.

Please let us assist you with your electricity-less automation: our engineering team is ready to assist you and look forward to challenging applications. If you have any questions about this product or would like other expert recommendations for your automation process, give Izumi International a call at 864.288.8001 or contact us online.

Topics: Industrial Automation, Aluminum Extrusion, Robotunits, Conveyors