Historically, the use of automation and robotics in production has been the domain of only the very large producers, whose mass production models were essential for their large local markets. Indeed, Henry Ford’s factory mechanisation, one of the first examples of automated production was serving America over one hundred years ago. In contrast, mass production is relatively new to New Zealand manufacturers, a requirement of our export activities and not due to local market needs.
Today, robotic technology is feature rich, flexible and cost effective, and should be a serious consideration for all New Zealand producers. Alongside, the difficulty of attracting the right people to industry and the need to be globally competitive is stimulating a strong drive towards automation, indicated by the New Zealand, Australia and APAC region showing the world’s strongest growth in terms of robot sales volumes.
The problem is that while America and Europe’s level of understanding has developed continuously alongside advances in the available technology, New Zealand’s factory workers, maintenance people, design engineers, management and accountants are playing catch up.
As an engineering firm specialising in robotic automation it was clear that Christchurch based engineering firm Design Energy needed to be able to fill these gaps, so that is what the company set out to do. As well as providing robots and ancillaries to industry, Design Energy is heavily involved with process engineering, plant layouts, servicing, technical training and the construction of tailored turn-key machines. All work is completed to a high degree by a team of engineers who between them carry nearly 100 years of relevant product, production and automation experience. Additionally, several of the company’s engineers have brought a wealth of international experience back to New Zealand, having been key players in the development and deployment of high tech automated production systems into North and South America, Asia and Europe.
There is however much more to robotic production than the robots themselves; the economics of the opportunity must stack up, the system must be easy to use, easy to maintain, meet current and projected production requirements and must fit with the upstream and downstream processes and people - from marketing to market. Design Energy’s experience with product development, manufacturing process, supply chain and commercialisation means the company can add value in all these areas, and work to re-configure or optimise aspects of a customer’s product or existing processes to better facilitate automation.
If you want to find out for yourself why Design Energy is considered one of New Zealand’s robotic automation specialists, get in touch with our team today. Pick up the phone or drop us a line, we’d be happy to discuss your needs and give you some advice, no strings attached.