Recently, the Jury of the Digital Innovation Hubs² (DIH²) project has selected the applications that qualify to the final stage of an open call which will be closed by the end of April. 2 Lithuanian-Danish consortia have been selected to compete for the final prize – an equity-free investment of up to €248,000.
Factobotics, a founding member of the Lithuanian Robotics Association, successfully participated in the DIH² Open Call dedicated to technology transfer projects (TTP). Out of 305 applications in the first stage, 96 proceeded to the 2nd Round and only 27 got an opportunity to appear in the final stage – Jury Day. By the end of April we will know which 13 consortia will be awarded with an equity-free funding support worth of up to €248,000.
Factobotics contributed to two such projects as a Technology Provider. Together with other consortia members, they will participate at the final of DIH² Open Call with two solutions: RoboBend, the world’s first standard bending robot and FlexHex – a flexible welding cells solution. Thomas Solupajev Ronlev, a Sales Director at Factobotics answered to questions that let us better understand the nature of these projects. Find the answers below.
To what extent does “Factobotics” contribute to these projects?
Factobotics is one of the two tech providers at the project: “High Flexible Welding Cell” together with a tech provider from Denmark and Flex-Hex together with LT Technologies in Lithuania. It is a Danish-Lithuanian consortium. Our spinoff company RoboBend, that is founded in Denmark is the leading technology partner on the project “RoboBend – world’s first standard bending robot” with an additional Danish technology supplier and a Danish SME.
Why are these solutions important and where could they be applied to?
The High Flexible Welding Cell project is important as it makes the process of changeover from one product to another faster. Today, only large-batch ordering companies can automate these processes, but with the help of robots, SME’s can also be flexible and improve throughput and efficiency which is important when working on new projects (pricing, design and execution).
RoboBend has been developed as the companies in the metal processing industries are facing challenges in finding enough qualified machine operators and thereby risk not being able to deliver to their clients. With the help of a standard handling robot, it becomes easy to program and change between orders. This way it is possible to automate the operations, increase the throughput, and stay very flexible, shifting between many orders.
What problems do these solutions solve?
FlexHex is a standard welding robot cell, that is flexible and works without traditional fixtures, that have to be designed, produced, inserted into the cell and programmed accordingly – this is done simply and easily by adjusting the fixture positions on the robot cell.
RoboBend is a standard machine operator robot that takes over the full controll of a press brake (bending machine) in the sheet metal industry. Once programmed, the robot operates within the machine, provides inputs and gets outputs from the machine.
Is financial assistance provided by DIH² important for the development of such solutions?
Finding SME’s that are willing to fully fund the development of a groundbreaking solution is difficult, therefore, funding that DIH² program provides is crucial to both fund the project as such and get the first experiments done in real environment at a real customer site.
Why is it important for your company to be among other European entries and compete with them?
Factobotics is a robot development company that focuses on identifying robotic needs and opportunities in the industry – turning them into robotic solutions and then commercializing them. Obviously, we are therefore not focused entirely on sales and recognition in Lithuania or Denmark only, but also the recognition in the whole Europe – both among partners (that we can team up with, when co-developing solutions), and funding organizations that trust us and know what performance-improving solutions we can deliver. Being in such competitions like this and being chosen among the best ones proves, that we approach the market in a healthy way – that they all believe in us and our ability to innovate and offer growth opportunities for the European industry.
Lithuanian Robotics Association (LRA) is a coordinator of a Digital Innovation Hub and a core partner of the DIH² consortium. LRA seeks to become a “one-stop shop” for everything robotics-related in Lithuania and is building an ecosystem around major robotic solution providers and competence centres in Lithuania.
DIH² is a network of 26 European Digital Innovation Hubs. The ambition of the DIH² project is to:
- Improve the cost effectiveness of advanced robotics solutions;
- drive growth of the robotics market;
- generate innovation that maximizes productivity and optimizes agility in over 300,000 manufacturing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-Caps across the European Union.