In the recently finished Digital Innovation Hubs² (DIH²) call for Technology Transfer Projects, Lithuanian-Danish consortia’s flexible welding solution “FlexHex” has won an equity-free investment of €248,000.
Factobotics, a founding member of the Lithuanian Robotics Association, successfully participated in the DIH² Open Call dedicated to technology transfer projects (TTP). It has contributed to the winning FlexHex project as one of the technology providers and together with an international consortia have been awarded with an equity-free funding support worth €248,000.
FlexHex is a flexible welding cells solution that ensures higher stiffness and accuracy in fixating workpieces in e.g. assembly, welding, part holding and precision position sensing for in-line calibration. Laurent Marquis, the CEO of FlexHex answered to our questions and let us better understand the essence of their winning solution. Find the answers below.
How did you find out about this Call and decide to offer your solution?
We had the concept already and were looking for the programme which would match our thinking and ideas for digitalization of manufacturing processes. Factobotics and the Lithuanian Robotics Association community has offered us to participate at this call organized by DIH² and it provided just what we needed. This way, newly established international consortia of a Danish company “FlexHex” and technology providers from Lithuania was created.
Why is your solution important and what problems does it solve?
The whole idea of this Flexible Welding Cell solution is to bring more agility and flexibility in the manufacturing process. There are many different processes but this project focuses on welding since it is a complex and time-consuming process that requires specific technology. We found they way to make this process more flexible and faster at the same time maintaining highest accuracy for a cheaper price.
What and where are your target markets and
Today, only large-batch ordering companies can automate these processes, but with the help of our solution, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can also afford investing in automated solutions and improve throughput and efficiency which is important when working on new projects (pricing, design and execution). Therefore, our goal is to reach SMEs that manufacture a wide range of products.
The demand for better welding solutions among SMEs is large enough in Europe. There are around half a million companies that work with welding in Europe and want to improve their processes.
Do you have competitors in this field and how are you better than them?
Similar solutions offered by our competitors are either too complex and expensive or too simple and not automated enough. What FlexHex offers is a more flexible and accurate solution of highest quality for smaller costs.
Would you agree that the current unprecedented situation changes manufacturers’ attitude towards automation?
Yes, the pandemics situation has shown that many companies are in fact not so flexible and it is clear now that by investing in automation helps companies maintain their production levels, increase agility and flexibility. Therefore, companies seem to be willing to invest more in robotic solutions now.
“It is important to invest not just in any automation solutions but in the clever ones. By making intelligent automation decisions SMEs can undoubtedly increase their agility – faster adapt to changing conditions, quickly respond and keep their market share.”Laurent Marquis, CEO of FlexHex.
FlexHex aims to develop, produce and market robotic Hexapod solutions as a mean to enable fast and cost-effective changeover in production. The hexapod system is fully integrable with the robot activities in production lines, and the merging of the two technologies leads to an economical, flexible and high quality fixture that ensures higher stiffness and accuracy in fixating workpieces in e.g. assembly, welding, part holding and precision position sensing for in-line calibration.
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. It aims 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.