About: Samuel Bouchard - CEO
Samuel Bouchard is the CEO of Robotiq, a company that he co-founded in 2008. Robotiq today serves manufacturers globally and has become a dominant voice in the fast-growing collaborative robots industry. The Robotiq team has helped thousands of manufacturers overcome manufacturing challenges using robots: from car component makers to electronics contract manufacturing firms; from first-time robot users to robotic experts looking at new ways to automate; and from Fortune 500companies to family-owned machine shops. Robotiq has also been recognized by Robotics Trends as one of the Top 50 most influential companies in robotics. Bouchard holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Engineering Physics from Laval University.
1. Designing robots for industrial automation is captivating. What is the role of Robotiq in simplifying the collaborative robot applications?
Robotiq was first known for its Plug Play components, which are electric grippers, force torque sensors and wrist camera. We now offer tools and know-how to cover the whole collaborative robot application deployment with the Lean Robotics methodology.
It starts by getting the right robot cell design the first time. Our many resources guide the manufacturer through the conversion of his manual process into a robotic one.
We then accelerate the robot’s integration with ready-to-use application programs that are available for everyone, so that factories start production faster. Our Plug + Play software makes it easy for anyone without robotics expertise to learn to use those systems pretty quickly.
There’s still a lot to do when the robot is in operation. Our Insights software tracks collaborative robots performance and notifies any its user of any defined event by sending alerts. The data gathered allows engineers to seek trends and plan optimization while alerts minimize downtime by getting back in production faster.
2. How would your products help in cutting down the production costs and yet produce a faster output in factories?
Robot ROI should be calculated from the moment the collaborative robot project starts. From then on, you invest time and money which needs to generate profit one day. This is why we developed Lean Robotics. Minimizing waste through the deployment process will get manufacturers to production faster, which leads to a faster ROI.
Cutting production costs starts by focusing on each collaborative cell’s direct output, which is the next station where the product goes to. Identifying the maximum value that each cell can add before the next station is key to get the most out of each robot, and cut costs in the process.
3. What is the level of accuracy and efficiency achieved by Robotiq products?
Robots and their components are mostly used for their repeatability rather than for extreme accuracy. Ease of programing is another major goal. It has great potential in any factory, especially those with high-mix, low-volume environments.
On efficiency, we can say that our products are as efficient as a collaborative robot applications can be. ISO standards define many safety parameters for those applications so that there’s no chance to put a human worker at risk.
4. Can you mention the main products manufactured by Robotiq that makes your company hold dominance over your other competitors?
We don’t talk about dominance but more about offering solutions to manufacturers who struggle with staff recruitment or need to answer to a growing product demand. We believe in our complete product offering and a solid 10 years expertise in collaborative robotics.
That being said, our 2-Finger Adaptive Robot Gripper unlocked many applications in an outstanding number of factories all around the world, thanks to its ease of programming and high flexibility that fits many industrial needs.
5. As the CEO, what would you say is the biggest challenge faced by a firm in-line with the evolution and building new products to keep up with the current automation market?
The adoption of collaborative robots technologies is growing, but is still a bit shy. The main challenge we face is mostly that manufacturers hesitate to put robots to work in their factory because it’s still too costly and too complicated.
We strive to make their lives easier and prove them that they can do it on their own, but not alone. More and more factories succeeded in this path, and it is only the beginning.