Interview with Vikram Kumar, General Manager at OnRobot.
Easy Engineering: How was 2022 for your business, a short summary?
Vikram Kumar: The year 2022 was okay in terms of business. We will end up growing around 30% compared to last year 2021.
E.E: What products/services did you launch this year?
V.K: This year we launched the OnRobot Palletizer to automate palletizing processes. The solution it’s compatible with collaborative robot and light industrial robots from Doosan, FANUC, OMRON, Techman and Universal Robots and it is available as a complete out-of-the-box system or as individual components to create a mix-and-match solution.
The OnRobot Palletizer includes four new hardware and software products:
OnRobot Palletizing software that guides users through the entire deployment from start to finish via a single interface for all components. Palletizing application deployment guidance is also available on the free Learn OnRobot e-learning platform.
OnRobot 2FGP20: an electric palletizing gripper with a 20 kg payload and customizable arms that can handle standard cardboard boxes as well as open boxes and shelf-ready products while also handling slip sheets without changing the gripper or requiring additional handling; no external air supply required.
OnRobot Lift100: an elevator with a total payload of 100 kg that provides a 7th axis for cobot and lightweight industrial robot brands; TÜV-certified stop-functionality facilitates safe and effective collaborative deployments.
OnRobot Pallet Station: floor mounted pallet fixtures designed to ensure consistent positioning; each comes with a built-in sensor for detecting pallet presence.
E.E: How did the market change, compared to previous years?
V.K: We see the market adapting to automation. Automation entering into industries and applications. Companies are busy with more projects of automation. Also, market is struggling with the supply chain, capacity and skilled labor.
E.E: What are the new challenges in your field of activity?
V.K: Probably two of the main challenges our industry is facing is on one hand the labor shortage, as there is a lack of application engineers at an integrator level. And on the other hand, the supply chain issues and delivery times. They are companies that require six, seven, eight or even nine months to deliver some of the components needed in an application. Therefore, if companies are not planning in an appropriate way and are not keeping their inventory correctly, then if just one company cannot supply their little part of the application, the whole application is delayed.
E.E: How did you overcome these challenges in this more competitive environment?
V.K: At OnRobot we managed to correctly plan our stock and we are still delivering our products in a couple of days.
E.E: Tell us about product innovation and how will it impact the future?
V.K: The field of automation has grown tremendously over the last decades. Although many manufacturers have embraced automation, high barriers to implementation remain, especially among small and medium-sized companies. Deploying robotic applications on the manufacturing floor is still far too complex, time-consuming, and inflexible. All of this drives up costs and the minimum number of parts produced, making automation an unviable option for many.
This situation will change now with D:PLOY breaking down these automation barriers by finally removing complexity associated with robotic application deployments and redeployments, offering staggering time and cost-savings.
E.E: How will product innovation help the customers?
V.K: D:PLOY will simplify and expedite the deployment process and thus speed up the pace at which automation is adopted.
Automation will be faster, easier and without risk. With dramatic time savings of up to 90% on deployment and redeployment, automation comes at lower cost and more attractive ROI.
D:PLOY will also help the labor shortage problems, improving productivity and relieving operators from unwanted tasks, staying ahead of competition.
E.E: What are the industry trends in the markets you are currently active?
V.K: I think we will see robots moving into more and more different sections of the economy into more and more different applications.
This is a result of people being more confident with robots, but also a result of robot technology. The whole application development becomes easier. Logistics/ warehousing is a big market. There is a lot of focus on it.
We also see Industries like Food and Pharma adapting to automation technology. This is mainly due to high demand in these sectors and acute shortage of skilled laborers.
Also, agriculture is a market where we are missing workforce in many European countries. More and more people are investing into robots or automation that will fit into agriculture. We see a lot of growth there.
E.E: What do you think the trends will be next year?
V.K: Difficult to predict exactly where the world economy is changing so fast due to the prevailing conditions.
But we are still very positive about the outlook for the automation. With our new D: PLOY launching in the market soon, this will break down automation barriers and will enable market growth for automation at much faster rate.
D:PLOY is industry’s first automated platform for deployment of collaborative applications. It enables you to build, run, monitor, and re-deploy robotic applications from one platform. “
E.E: What is the outlook for 2023?
V.K: We see huge automation potential with D:PLOY in the market we will be able to do 10 times more in the same time with the same manpower as today, so we can really speed up how we help the manufacturing industry going forward and we can help all the integrators lacking engineers to run projects. With this strong technology that we will bring into the market we really see a bright outlook for 2023 helping the whole manufacturing industry
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