A scant two years after its formation, robot manufacturer Sepro America LLC made NPE2009 its coming-out party.
This year's event marked the first time the company has showcased its products since buying out the shares owned by Conair Group Inc. Conair sold its stake in the company in August 2007.
Sepro has been focusing on growing its market share in the U.S., which the company's top official considers the most important economic market in the world. Sepro specializes in Cartesian-coordinate robots, while also offering other automation products like six-axis articulating robots and sprue pickers.
Emsworth, Pa.-based Sepro America is a subsidiary of Sepro Robotique, founded in 1982. The parent company is based in La Roche-sur-Yon, France.
Sepro Robotique is a global player with operations throughout Europe, as well as the U.S., China, Brazil and Mexico.
In North America, as well as other countries that face off-shoring, one of the weapons that they have is to do more with robots and automation with robots, such as grippers and other specials applications, said Jean-Michel Renaudeau, managing director of Sepro Robotique and CEO of Sepro America, in a recent telephone interview.
Renaudeau said it is a challenging time in the robotics industry: Aside from the typical trials of competition from other companies, the industry's customer base has dwindled because of business closings which exacerbate the problem by putting an influx of second-hand robots on the market.
Sometimes you end up competing with your own products, Renaudeau said.
We have to program our psychology to be ready when [the market] recovers, he said. We are realistic about the situation. Today the market is down. After the crisis, many opportunities will appear.
Sepro America showcased its new Visual 2 robot controls at NPE, held July 22-26 in Chicago. The controls are easy to use, according to the company. The Visual 2 features high-speed programmable logic control, with scan rates as fast as 100 milliseconds, a Sepro release said. The system comes with a 10-inch, touch-sensitive LCD screen, and a joystick that allows operators to steer the robot to fine-tune movements. Users can upload and download information on the control system via Ethernet, USB and Wi-Fi, the release said.
The Visual 2 is standard equipment on Sepro Generation IV Cartesian robots. The SR 4050 S5 is among the largest of the six G4 models, and is on display at NPE. It has five-axis functionality and is designed to fit molding machines from 20-3,500 tons.
Sepro America also showed a number of other products at NPE2009.
Renaudeau said his company believes the U.S. market will ultimately lead a global economic recovery.
We discover again that North America is a key market and will most likely give the first signs of the recovery, he said.
People traditionally expect the end of the crisis from the U.S. But we do not think short term. It's a tough period.
We see America as it is the biggest market in the world a unified market. We see it as an opportunity, he said.
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