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        IMA

Sepro to expand robot operations in France and US

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Following four years of what is says is record-setting sales growth, French automation supplier Sepro Group is announcing a three-phase EUR11 million expansion plan. In France, the plan will increase production capacity at Sepro’s headquarters facility in La Roche-sur-Yon, and launch a new global training facility nearby. In the US, it will add large-robot assembly capabilities to the systems integration and service operations already in place at the Sepro America operation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Sepro says it is the largest maker of robots in France and also is a leading global supplier of 3, 5 and 6-axis robots used in the automation of plastics injection moulding machines. During the past four years, the company has more than doubled the number of robots sold, from 1,300 in 2012 to more than 2,700 in 2016.

All of that growth means one thing: “We have reached the limits of our production capacity and we need to invest,” says Jean Michel Renaudeau, CEO of Sepro Group.

The expansion of Sepro’s corporate headquarters and production facility in La Roche-sur-Yon, from its current 13,000 sq m to nearly 20,000 sq m, take place over the next months until summer 2018. A key element of the expansion is the plan to separate robot manufacturing from robot integration workflow. This change, together with added space, will increase production capacity for Sepro 3, 5, and 6-axis robots from 3,000 to 5,000 units annually.

The facility’s robot integration business units, where Sepro professionals develop custom robotic automation cells, will expand by 50%, enabling work teams to complete up to 70 specialised projects annually for clients in Europe. The company operates three other integration centres as well: one at its Sepro America subsidiary for the North American market, one in Germany at the Sepro GmbH subsidiary, and one in China.

Offices will also be expanded and the company will create a dedicated “innovation space” in its headquarters building.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Sepro’s investment plan calls for expansion of the Sepro America facility in Pittsburgh to allow assembly of large robots. Adding assembly capabilities represents the next logical step in growth for the facility, which is already a hub for systems integration and the assembly of complex automation cells in North America. The expansion will help optimise delivery schedules in North America clients, while achieving savings in logistics and transport.

The current expansion will support assembly of robots designed for use with injection-moulding machines of 800 tonnes or more that are bound for clients in the US, Canada or Mexico. It will more than double the assembly/production area of the facility, increasing it from 900 sq m to 2,000 sq m.

The second phase of Sepro’s expansion in France will relocate its training centre from the current headquarters site to a new 800-sq-m facility, in the nearby municipality of La Roche-sur-Yon. The new centre, which will include five training rooms with eight full-time trainers will be located within a new open, cooperative campus that is being developed as a regional centre of excellence for robotics and manufacturing by the Pays de la Loire region of France and Oryon, a local economic development group. The move is part of a partnership strategy that Sepro has implemented in recent years to create stronger links with local and regional organizations, educational institutions, and technology leaders throughout the world.

Sepro trainers plan to move into the new training centre in summer 2018 and begin training up to 1,500 course participants annually, a 50% increase over existing enrolments.

The centre will house 25 robots, including 3, 5, and 6-axis robots from Sepro, Sepro-Stäubli, and Sepro-Yaskawa, and offer trainees a wide variety of hands-on programming experiences.

The company has other training centres located in Oyonnax (Ain/France), Dietzenbach (Germany), in Pittsburgh and near Chicago (US). In, addition, and in keeping with Sepro’s global digital strategy, new e-learning and blended-learning services also will be launched in 2018.

(IMA)


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