Sepro and Yaskawa agree to collaborate on 6-Axis robots for larger molding machines

7 April 2016

Membership in the regional manufacturing innovation group PROXINNOV has resulted in a new alliance between Sepro Group, La Roche sur Yon, and Yaskawa, a Japanese company with offices in Nantes. Sepro will sell large 6-axis articulated-arm robots manufactured by Yaskawa as part of Sepro’s full line of robots used in plastics injection molding.

Xavier Lucas, Président of Yaskawa France and Manfred Stern, General Director and President of Yaskawa Europe, which is located in Eschborn in Germany, visited La Roche sur Yon in early March to join Jean-Michel Renaudeau, CEO of Sepro Group, in signing the partnership agreement.

The robots will be sold under the Sepro-Yaskawa brand name as part of the Sepro 6X Visual product line, which also includes 6-axis robots manufactured in cooperation with Stäubli. That relationship will continue, with Sepro selling Stäubli robots for applications on molding machines with up to 800 tons of clamping capacity and four bigger Yaskawa units for machines up to 5000 tons. The simple and intuitive Sepro Visual controls, specially developed for plastics injection molding, are used to control the 6-axis robots. This is the same control platform used on the entire range of Sepro robots. Sepro is currently working on electronics concepts for the future in cooperation with Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S.A. Results from that collaboration are expected in 2017.

The Sepro-Yaskawa agreement grew out of the two companies’ membership in PROXINNOV, an innovation forum serving companies in the Pays de la Loire region in western France. Its mission is to raise awareness of industrial robotics as a means to improve efficiency of manufacturing, and to encourage collaboration between its members. Sepro CEO Jean-Michel Renaudeau is the current President of PROXINNOV.

Sepro is a world leader in the development and manufacture of robots for injection molding and manufactures its own 3- and 5-axis Cartesian beam robots. In addition to agreements with the 6-axis robot manufacturers, Sepro is in partnership with injection-molding-machine manufacturers, including Sumitomo Demag, for the distribution of its robots under those manufacturers’ brands. These collaborations have largely contributed to three successive years of record turnover. In 2015, turnover amounted to 92.8 million euros, an increase of 17% compared to 2014, with more than 2,300 robots sold.

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