As the popularity of modular, pre-engineered, end-of-arm tooling for robots gains popularity, two U.S. suppliers are expanding.
One supplier, Plastics Automation Exchange Inc., has moved into its own 12,000-square-foot building in Windsor, Conn. President Kenneth Heyse also said the company is selling pre-engineered robot tooling under an agreement with A.S.S. Maschinenbau GmbH of Overath Brombach, Germany. A.S.S., which stands for Automation-Systems-Schwope, makes the pre-machined components in Germany.
Meanwhile, SAS Automation, which used to be part-owned by A.S.S., has become an independent manufacturer. SAS owner Trent Fisher said he bought out the German company's shares in the venture in March. He said SAS still can purchase components from the German company.
SAS, which has purchased its 8,000-square-foot headquarters building in Xenia, Ohio, plans to expand employment from eight to 25 in the next three years, Fisher said.
SAS designs and builds end-of-arm tooling, specializing in fast turnaround-time. For example, the company designed, made and shipped tooling in less than one week, in time for an open house at GE Plastics in Pittsfield, Mass., Fisher said.
Heyse's company moved in March from its original location in 7,500 square feet of space at used-machinery dealer Plastics One Inc. in Wallingford, Conn., to the larger building in Windsor.
Heyse, former sales manager at Wittmann Robot & Automation Systems Inc., founded PAE in 1996 to remanufacture used robots. The company has expanded into end-of-arm tooling.
The agreement with A.S.S. will cut tooling lead time in half, Heyse said. PAE will build the tooling, or sell the pre-machined, German-made components to molders and let them build the tools, he said. PAE is investigating whether it should build the pre-engineered components in-house in Connecticut, he added.