Ep­son plans to in­tro­duce cobots

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Story by: Sricha­ran R

The Ja­panese elec­tron­ics com­pany Ep­son, which has an ex­ten­sive range of mul­ti­func­tion print­ers, data and home the­atre pro­jec­tors, point of sale (POS) print­ers and large for­mat print­ing so­lu­tions, ro­bots and in­dus­trial au­to­ma­tion equip­ment, is plan­ning to have cobots in its prod­uct kitty. With the cobots, the In­dian arm, Ep­son In­dia is plan­ning to have strong foothold in the In­dian mar­ket. A cobot is a robot in­tended to phys­i­cally in­ter­act with hu­mans in a shared workspace. This is in con­trast with other ro­bots and is de­signed to op­er­ate au­tonomously or with lim­ited guid­ance. Ep­son’s ro­botic di­vi­sion de­signs and man­u­fac­tures Carte­sian, SCARA and 4 and 6-axis in­dus­trial ro­bots for fac­tory au­to­ma­tion.

Talk­ing about cobots, Satya­narayana P, Di­rec­tor of LFP, Vis­ual Prod­ucts and Ro­bots, Ep­son In­dia Pvt Ltd, said, “We are work­ing on cobots (col­lab­o­ra­tive robot) and it is too early to share de­tails about it. We will be work­ing on the con­cept, de­vel­op­ment and pro­to­type. So, we are work­ing on cobots and we will come out at the proper time. Be­fore in­tro­duc­ing a prod­uct, we spend around 5 years on the de­vel­op­ment and come up with a right so­lu­tion.”

Ep­son In­dia mar­kets and sup­ports Ep­son Inkjet Print­ers, Inkjet all-in­ones, point of sale print­ers, 3LCD pro­jec­tors, scan­ners, large for­mat print­ers, ro­bots and dot-ma­trix print­ers. “We have 2 types of ro­bots here, the 4-axis and 6-axis. Right now, the trend is more to­wards the 4-axis. This is be­cause it is af­ford­able, easy to man­age and suits the bud­get of many cus­tomers. The 6-axis, which is a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive, re­quires bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture and many of the man­u­fac­tur­ers are not ca­pa­ble of that. We are try­ing to pro­mote the 6-axis, but the ma­jor busi­ness is hap­pen­ing in 4-axis. Ep­son’s 6-axis ro­bots can do a lot of op­er­a­tions and the 4-axis has a wider cus­tomer base be­cause of the cost. Once peo­ple are at a com­fort level with the 4-axis they will also start us­ing the 6-axis. In the past 7 years, we have in­stalled more than 500 ro­bots in the mar­ket,” Satya­narayana said.

The ro­bots di­vi­sion of Ep­son in In­dia was started in 2011. “When you look at the global level, the us­age of ro­bots in in­dus­try is around 70 for ev­ery 10000 work­ers. This is the world av­er­age and it dif­fers in coun­tries like South Korea, Sin­ga­pore, Ger­many, Ja­pan and the US. They use more than the world av­er­age. For ex­am­ple, South Korea uses around 600 ro­bots for ev­ery 10000 work­ers. In In­dia, it is iust 3 ro­bots for the ra­tio. So, this brings in huge po­ten­tial for the ro­bot­ics mar­ket. Slowly, the mar­ket is grow­ing and in 2017, the es­ti­mated ship­ment of ro­bots to In­dia was around 3000. In 2020, we ex­pect this to dou­ble,” he said.

Glob­ally, Ep­son of­fers 4 dif­fer­ent lines of SCARA ro­bots in­clud­ing the T-Series, G-Series, RS-Series, and LS-Series. The per­for­mance and fea­tures of­fered for each series of robot are de­ter­mined by

the in­tended pur­pose and needs of the robot. The T- Series robot is a high-per­for­mance al­ter­na­tive to slide ro­bots for pick-and-place op­er­a­tions. G-Series of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of ro­bots in re­gards to the size, arm de­sign, pay­load ap­pli­ca­tion, and more. The RSSeries of­fers two SCARA ro­bots that are mounted from above and have the abil­ity to move the sec­ond axis un­der the first axis. The LS-Series fea­tures sev­eral low-cost and high­per­for­mance ro­bots that come in a va­ri­ety of sizes. The com­pany has a 30-year her­itage and there are more than 30,000 ro­bots in­stalled in man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries around the world.

Ep­son uses a stan­dard­ised PC-based con­troller for 6-axis ro­bots, SCARA, and Lin­ear Mod­ule needs. In 2018, the mar­ket es­ti­ma­tion in In­dia for the 3-20kg ro­bots was around 3500. Around 60% of this went to heavy loads and 11-12% to the 3-5 kg seg­ment. The rest 27-28% was for the x-y axis. The com­pany ex­pects to in­stall 200-210 ro­bots this year, which means it will have 58-59% mar­ket share. Ep­son does not have a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in In­dia as of now. Last year Ep­son In­dia had a turnover of Rs 1664 crore. The tar­get for this year is Rs 2000 crore.

When asked if the ro­bots would be In­dia-spe­cific, Satya­narayana, said, “It is not a ques­tion of bring­ing in In­dia-spe­cific ro­bots. The men­tal­ity of im­ple­ment­ing au­to­ma­tion is still not com­fort­able for many man­u­fac­tur­ers here. In­dia is more price sen­si­tive than other mar­kets. With this in mind, we have po­si­tioned a cost-ef­fec­tive prod­uct called the T3 series. This is af­ford­able for the In­dian man­u­fac­tur­ers. An­other ma­jor as­pect is to try and de­velop more proof of con­cepts on works that are car­ry­ing out. When this comes in, it can save time and in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity. Adap­ta­tion of ro­bots is in­creas­ing, and we will wit­ness the in­crease in ro­bots here in the In­dian in­dus­try too.”

In the ro­botic di­vi­sion, the com­pany has many com­peti­tors. About the dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fac­tors of Ep­son, Satya­narayana said, “It is not a ques­tion of how dif­fer­ent or unique we are. We give out the so­lu­tion that the cus­tomer re­quires. We have com­pe­ti­tions, but we have got var­i­ous prod­ucts. Each in­dus­try is dif­fer­ent and Ep­son is sup­ply­ing ac­cord­ing to the cus­tomer’s re­quire­ments.” The com­pany’s in­ter­nal team meets the cus­tomers and de­sign to meet their ex­pec­ta­tions. The com­pany works with a few sys­tem in­te­gra­tors who help it in de­sign­ing and this helps Ep­son to reach a larger cus­tomer base.

“Ini­tially, peo­ple felt that ro­bots are needed only for the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try. Slowly it is getting into other in­dus­tries too. Ep­son has in­stalled over 70 ro­bots in the world’s big­gest mo­bile man­u­fac­tur­ing unit in Noida. We are ex­pect­ing to do more there. In this in­dus­try, it is mainly used for pick and place and it can also be used for screw tight­en­ing, dis­pens­ing, in­spec­tion etc. Us­ing of ro­bots in such in­dus­tries is also in­creas­ing,” he added.

Fu­ture plans

Mov­ing to­wards the fu­ture, the mar­ket is look­ing at In­dus­try 4.0. Ep­son plans to adopt and take this to their prod­ucts. The com­pany is also look­ing at deep learn­ing and more re­li­able ro­bots for the con­nected mar­kets. Satya­narayana said, “Our prod­ucts will suit the In­dus­try 4.0. We have a lot more to go to In­dus­try 3.0 and we are pro­gress­ing. Some of our new ro­bots can be used in the con­nected ecosys­tem.”

With an­other ma­jor trend be­ing the light-weight­ing ro­bots, Ep­son has T3 series ro­bots which are light in weight and af­ford­able. Ear­lier, ro­bots and the con­trol­ling units were sold sep­a­rately and now it has changed. The T3 series comes with more au­to­ma­tion and oc­cu­pies less space.

Satya­narayana P, Di­rec­tor of LFP, Vis­ual Prod­ucts and Ro­bots, Ep­son In­dia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.