Another stamp in our passports as Suzanne Tracey (Business Development), Matt Howe (Robot Specialist), and I headed north to Canada for the Robotiq User Conference. Robotiq gave us a memorable experience, filled with learning, testing, networking, and eating, with a look towards the future while we spent our days in the beautiful 1887 Voltigeurs de Québec Armoury!
We returned home exhausted (we’ll why explain later), but we’ve recovered and can share the following:
- Nobody is certain just how big the cobot industry is, or how much it's going to grow. There’s something electric about being in a room where everyone realizes we are at the beginning of seismic change across so many industries! The possibilities are endless and it's a nice vantage point to have. Thank you to Jeff Burnstein, A3's President, for a great keynote.
- The release of Robotiq's Force Co-Pilot which accelerates the programming of a whole host of applications, including part insertion and surface finding, among many others.
- We were impressed with their Insights Remote Monitoring allowing for online remote tech support, possible from anywhere in the world at any time.
- Their technology is approachable and easy for people to program. We brought a client, Tanya, a Process Analyst (see photo above). She is a new cobot user and has acquired Universal Robots for multiple applications. This conference was her opportunity to learn how to program them, and now she is a pro!
- We heard from several speakers that safety continues to be a “top of mind” consideration in designing and programming robots.
- At this point, we are too old to pull all-nighters! 24-hour technical challenges are constructive, but the recovery is tough.
This was not a typical conference where one quietly takes notes. Attendees were divided into teams: technical and sales.
Suzanne was tapped to present in front of 100 people her team’s solution, covering budget, product implementation, timelines and a ROI calculation. As always, she did an excellent job.
I was assigned to the technical team, and we were tasked to assemble from a pile of parts a working robot that could put 4 items together, group them, then package 300 of them. It was a long day and night, but a great opportunity to roll my sleeves up, brainstorm ideas with a group, and then set our plans into motion using lean robotics principles and the new e-Series from Universal Robots. If you're curious, details on the Technical Challenge are here.
We predict great growth and have faith that Robotiq is a company Knotts' customers can rely on. Not only did the user conference reconfirm for us their product quality, but it also demonstrated their deep commitment to education and training. We will certainly pass on that learning to our clients.