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Industrial robots work at manufacturing sites in place of human workers, and can perform such tasks as welding, painting, and moving and assembling components. The robots are operated by running the programs created in the "Teaching" phase.

It is said that industrial robots were first practically applied in the 1960s, when robots controlled by programs were launched in the U.S. market.

In Japan, mechanization of manufacturing sites has gradually progressed since the period of the country's rapid economic growth, leading to the expansion in the scope of application of industrial robots suitable for mass production. After the First Oil Crisis in 1973, production lines saw robots that help increase work efficiency, not just for simple mass production. According to the Japan Robot Association, 1980 is set as the "first year of the proliferation" of robots in Japan.

In recent years, such robots equipped with cameras and sensors and that have two arms are produced to perform complicated operations. Moreover, there are many robots available for general purposes, as the tip of their arms can be changed like human workers changing tools in their hands.

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