RoboBend project for company Shopflex (Denmark)
The company Shopflex – with headquarter in Denmark and production facilities as well in Lithuania is designing, producing and selling shop furniture, mainly for American fast-food chains – in cooperation with an American partner Shopco Inc.
It is a typical Danish/Lithuanian SME, that is a niche player and therefore do not sell high volumes. This affects their production plans and needs as well – small to mid-sized production batches.
They anyway believed that one of their processes needed to be automated – operating their press brakes (the machine that does bending of sheet metal). It’s a process of repeatable and dirty work done by skilled technicians – and difficult to motivate people and find the right operators. They foresee that getting qualified machine operators would be a challenge in the future.
This is supported by European research, which claims that finding machine operators will be among the 3 biggest problems for the European industries.
The company Robobend ApS that is situated in Denmark, but with all its development done in Lithuania took over the challenge – and discussed that a machine operating robot (tending robot) should be developed not only for Shopflex, but as a standard solution.
RoboBend has hired UAB Factobotics as well as Panevezys Mechatronics Centre to be part of this development.
Factobotics is a Lithuanian robotic company that is specialized in turning client needs into standard robot solutions – looking at the cases from a business point of view and developing a technology solution, that makes sense from a user and market perspective. Factobotics as well does digital/robotic audits and helps companies to plan up their robotic/digital investments to support the companies long termed goals – aiming at that the technology are tools to reach their goals.
Panevezys Mechatronics Centre is a Lithuanian Non-profit institution with its own lab facilities, that involves itself in research and practical applying of robotic solutions for the industries. Specialized in electronics, electrical, automation, mechanics, mechatronics, programming, micro/nanotechnology. At the centre they carry out research with specialized micro/nano-technological equipment.
Lithuanian Digital Innovation Hub facilitated that a client needs was discussed with the company Factobotics – and later with its international connections brought the initiators of the idea together with the Investment environment in Odense. RoboBend was established, a Danish business angel entered the project and various public funding have been attracted for the projected (From Danish Innovation Fund and the SME Instrument Fund). Panevezys Mechatronics Centre were then later added to the development team together with Factobotics – and a Danish Lithuanian project initiated that does a difference for the European metal processing industries.