Andrew P. Storm, President & CEOAcross a myriad of industries, manufacturers are under incredible pressure to produce more with less. “Collaborative robotics is dramatically changing this scenario,” states Andrew P. Storm, President and CEO of Eckhart, a Lansing, Michigan based collaborative robotics market leader. Eckhart’s collaborative robotic solutions help manufacturers all over the world innovate assembly and material handling systems that significantly enhance safety, quality, and employee productivity. Founded in 1972, Eckhart’s global reach and broad base of customers span the aerospace, appliance, consumer packaged goods, medical device, automotive, and heavy construction industries.
Eckhart’s FlexCheck collaborative robotic inspection technology automates manual quality inspections with a safe, automated, and accurate collaborative solution that generates consistent 6 Sigma quality. “As manufacturers look to redeploy indirect labor resources focused on manual quality inspections, our team of application specialists are trained to look for collaborative solutions that can automate repetitive inspection tasks. Our customers’ safety metrics are improving as they see less worker’s compensation claims, productivity is increasing as indirect labor is redeployed to higher value tasks in their factories, and product quality is improving exponentially as the accuracy and number of inspections increase with an automated solution.” “As an authorized systems integrator, Eckhart prides itself on being a market leader in the collaborative robotics space. With a disciplined and meticulous approach to quality, Eckhart has a 40 plus year history designing and building custom tools for some of the most demanding manufacturers in the world. This has afforded Eckhart a unique perspective from which to engineer and deploy collaborative robotic systems for customers. “Our customers continue to be amazed at the simplicity of integrating collaborative robotic systems into their manufacturing footprint and appreciate the rapid return on investment they see,” says Storm.
A recent collaborative robotic project began with Eckhart performing a site assessment for an appliance manufacturer that had purchased over 200 collaborative robots from the robot OEM and was struggling to get the robots integrated into their manufacturing facilities.
We understand how to integrate collaborative robots into a manufacturing environment because we build and integrate the adjacent solutions that go around the robot and fit into the robotic eco system
“Many of our Fortune 50 customers have large purchasing organizations who attempt to leverage their spending to save money. In this instance a purchasing department bought collaborative robots in volume only to find the factory teams were not prepared or staffed to integrate the technology into their factories. They appreciated the technical expertise our team brought to their company and the relief we afforded them by taking full responsibility for the redeployment and integration effort,” says Storm.
“We understand how to integrate collaborative robots into a manufacturing environment because we build and integrate the adjacent solutions that go around the robot and fit into the robotic eco system,” cites Storm. “From autonomous guided carts (AGCs) to elevated work platforms we manufacture and integrate the operator workstations, tooling, and lean material systems that support the collaborative robotic solutions within a factory.” Eckhart offers onsite control and engineering support, and also deploys technical experts on the client’s factory site for a defined period of time ranging from six months up to two years depending upon the level of support required.
Looking ahead, Eckhart sees a lot of potential to harness the power of collaborative robotics with other disruptive forms of manufacturing innovation, namely 3D printing and micro sensing technology. “We see huge potential down the road to integrate collaborative robotic systems with all these advanced technologies and provide more value to all of our customers,” concludes Storm.