Karakuri - Low-Cost Automaiton

What does "Karakuri" mean? Karakuri is an automation mechanism that was invented in Japan. 

For decades, Karakuri has been a central element of the lean philosophy, where it refers to the simple but intelligent automation of processes based on physical principles – with no drives, sensors, electricity or compressed air. The intention is to use resources that are already in place – existing plants, parts and components on the one hand and the creativity of the on-site workforce on the other (low-cost automation). Karakuri should be fun!


It is a remarkable methodology that helps improve productivity and reduce company costs. This technique comes from Japan, in literal translation means "skilful mechanisms", and one of the first karakuri was used in a puppet theater. The goal of modern karakuri in industrial applications is to reduce standard time, reduce runtime fluctuations, reduce rebuilding time and improve ergonomics, which, after successful implementation, leads to cost savings.

In our environment it is a simple automation system without the use of sensors, servomotors, etc. By using lean manufacturing pipes, their accessories and manufactured parts, simple tilting racks, slides, lifts, etc. can be created using only gravity, human strength, springs.

When designing the system, there is a big financial savings for the assembly made (expensive electrical components are not used) and savings are made in the actual operation.

The benefits of Karakuri applications

Low-Cost (Intelligent) Automation (LCIA) typically costs around 80 to 90 percent less than comprehensively automating production processes – but delivers a similar level of efficiency. Discover the benefits of Karakuri:

Field-proven application examples

Profile Tube System D30 can be used to build intelligent Karakuri applications that exploit the laws of gravity and mechanics for their own purpose.