“OnRobot offers full line of innovative plug-and- produce solutions for collaborative applications.”

OnRobot recently introduced its award-winning One System Solution to India market. In an exclusive interview with Niels Ole Sinkbæk Sørensen, Country Manager, South Asia, Southeast Asia & Oceania from OnRobot talks about cobots, robots adoption in India, how OnRobot helping the SMEs to grow and company offerings for Indian market.

Tell us a brief about OnRobot to our Indian audiences.

OnRobot delivers a full line of innovative plug-and-produce solutions for collaborative applications which can be seamlessly integrated with a wide range of leading collaborative and light industrial robot brands.

Our wide assortment of tools – electric grippers, force/torque sensors, vision system, vacuum grippers, screwdriver, the award-winning Gecko gripping technology, and tool changers – enable quicker and simpler automation of tasks such as packaging, quality control, materials handling, machine tending, assembly, and surface finishing. Manufacturers gain the full advantages of automation, including ease of use, cost- effectiveness, and safety alongside human workers.

In India, OnRobot distributes its products through a number of channel partners located in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Haryana. These include Blue Star Engineering & Electronics, Alstrut, WIPRO, Precimac and Encon Systems.

Are there any particular industries in India on which OnRobot is focusing?

Our solutions help SMEs across industries optimise their processes and grow their business with greater flexibility, higher output and improved quality. There are approximately 42.5 million SMEs in India. They comprise 95 percent of industrial units in the country and employ 106 million workers, 40 percent of India’s workforce 1 .

We believe that collaborative automation can level the playing field for these small and mid- sized manufacturers, and as robots become easier to buy and to implement, the tooling becomes a vital element in adapting to a wide range of applications.

We see most demand coming from the automotive, rubber and plastics, metal and electronics, and educational sectors.

Mobile manufacturing is the focus of Indian Government, do you have offerings for this field?

OnRobot offers a range of tools that can be used for a variety of applications in the electronics industry in general including for mobile manufacturing. This includes our collaborative screwdriver which is used for assembling of parts, our force/torque sensors used for testing, and our range of grippers used in assembly, pick and place and packaging applications throughout the manufacturing line.

Our unique Gecko SP grippers, with the award-winning Gecko gripping technology, make it possible to pick glass objects without leaving marks on the surface. This can be used in both the assembly process and for end-of-line packaging of mobile phones and tablets, and will help to reduce the overall cost as there is no need for cleaning the glass screen after being picked by our gripper.

Will COVID 19 crisis boost collaborative robots adoption in India?

Faced with a shortage of workers and social distancing restrictions, manufacturers are considering options to automate, with a clear preference for robots 2 . This is expected to increase the demand for robots in the coming months. According to IndustryARC, the Indian industrial robotics market is estimated to grow at 13.3 percent CAGR from 2019-2024.

Collaborative robots (cobots), when equipped with the right tools – sensors, grippers and vision systems – and force and power limiting safety features, make collaboration between robots and people possible. These advanced tools transform cobots into intelligent objects capable of sensing, acting and behaving within smart manufacturing environments. This leads to numerous benefits including making the production process shorter, increasing productivity, reducing the defect rate and supporting employees in their work, making them more efficient and valuable.

Cobots also facilitate the rapid reconfiguration of production lines to allow for increased physical separation of people as social distancing standard operating procedures are employed at factories. Cobots also allow for equally rapid introduction of new products, which is especially advantageous for businesses coping with the pandemic. The robots
also take up less space and their deployment does not impede production. These features are increasing the demand for cobots compared to more conventional robots.

Will collaborative robots help Indian manufactures to accelerate made in India.

Yes, certainly. The impact from Covid-19 has made local businesses realise the benefits of automation and robotic solutions. Automation is crucial, especially for SMEs who have smaller cash reserves and a more limited customer base, making them vulnerable to disruptions.

These companies have new options in automation adoption as collaborative
applications offer a fast, easy and affordable alternative to bulky traditional industrial robots. They enable the “Made in India” vision for SMEs, helping businesses build flexibility in their production processes, enhance supply chain competitiveness and improve worker wellbeing.

Where does India stand in terms of robot use on the global map?

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), India ranks 11th worldwide in annual installation. Industrial robot sales hit a new record 4,771 in 2018, increasing 39 percent from 2017 – the highest jump among the largest markets 4 .

However, the country has a low robot density figure in the automotive industry, with 99 industrial robots per 10,000 employees, less than a fourth of Indonesia’s density (440 units) and far from China (732 units) and the frontrunner Korea (2,589 units). India’s robot density in the manufacturing industry only reaches a value of 4 industrial robots per 10,000 employees.

How do you see the development of collaborative robotics so far?

With a growth of 23 percent in annual installations of cobots from 2017 to 2018, the new World Robotics Report, published by IFR, shows a huge demand for collaborative applications. In 2018 almost 14,000 new cobot arms were installed. If this rise continues, that number will double in approximately three years, prompting an unprecedented market opportunity for collaborative applications and tooling that OnRobot is ready to address.

The IFR report indicates that a substantial part of the adoption will be driven by more intelligent components such as smart grippers, “plug & play” interfaces, and programming by demonstrations.

The data tell us that companies should pay close attention not only to how they automate, but also what tools they use to achieve their production goals. Intelligent grippers, sensors and vision systems facilitate collaborative applications, simplifying highly complex processes, making it cost-effective and easy for manufacturers to see fast results in terms of higher uptime, output, consistency and quality. This helps them
maintain a competitive edge in a very crowded and highly competitive manufacturing market.