December, 13, 2017 - In 2017, Sepro Group marks its fifth consecutive year as the number one French robot manufacturer and now ranks as the world’s number two source for injection molding machine (IMM) automation. During the year, Sepro announced new commercial partners, launched a new assembly plant in North America, expanded its La Roche-sur-Yon production plant and built a new World Training Centre at the PROXINNOV innovation campus nearby.
By year-end, the company expects to record growth of 20% compared to 2016 on turnover of €125 million, of which 90% is driven by exports outside of France. The company has hired 160 new employees since 2014 and plans to recruit 60 more worldwide for 2018 in production, R&D, sales, and customer service. With these hires, the company will achieve a 600-employee workforce by the end of the year.
Sepro Group has continued to build and strengthen existing technological and commercial relationships with global partners (Stäubli; Yaskawa, Sumitomo Demag), academic partners (Carnegie Mellon University, USA, Audencia Business School, France), and regional partners (PROXINNOV) to advance and promote the field of robotics. All of these partnerships strengthen the expanding global enterprise that is Sepro.
New partnerships developed in 2017 demonstrate Sepro’s ambition to continue developing through collaborative, global relationships. During the year, Sepro concluded agreements with Japanese IMM manufacturer Sumitomo Demag, the American manufacturer Milacron and the French manufacturer Billion. These agreements, together with an important new partnership with a major Chinese manufacuturer, Haitian, mark a new phase in Sepro Group’s global development strategy.
Haitian International Germany and Sepro Group: new collaboration between two major players in the plastics industry.
Haitian International Germany, the German subsidiary of the Chinese IMM manufacturer, a leader in China and a global player in plastics manufacturing, has joined forces with Sepro Group to launch a range of 3- and 5-axis robots under the “Haitian by Sepro” brand.
This new range of robots complements the existing Haitian offering in Europe. The innovative agreement enables Haitian to meet the growing demand for comprehensive IMM/robot packages on the European market and, by joining Sepro’s Visual robot control with the molding machine’s controls, represents a signficant expansion of Sepro Group’s commitment to “Open Integration.”
Welcoming Haitian as a new Asian partner in Europe and the world will also strengthen Sepro, enabling it to produce around 100 additional robots in 2018 and 200 in 2019. Sepro Group has also combined efforts with Nortec, the German representative of Korean IMM manufacturer Woojin, and has developed software that enables Sepro’s Visual control to integrate with the controls of Woojin IMMs sold in Europe.
Extension of the Sepro Group plant
The expansion of Sepro Group’s corporate headquarters, which is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2018, is also reflective of the enterprise’s growth strategy. By increasing plant size from 13,000 m2 to 20,000 m2, Sepro expects to boost production capacity from 3,000 robots per year to 5,000. At the same time, the expansion plan encompasses office-space improvements aimed at sparking ever-more-productive interactions between employees and ideas.
To this end, the company will create dedicated innovation spaces in support of its “Open Apps” and “Open 4.0” strategies. Apps -- including OptiCycle, a solution for optimising the automated production cycle, and Live Support, a new hotline service accessible from a smartphone -- will be launched in 2018.
New training centre on Robotics & Manufacturing Campus
When completed, a new Sepro World Training Centre will be an integral part of the industrial Robotics & Manufacturing Campus within the PROXINNOV innovation hub for the Pays de la Loire region in western France, where Sepro is located. This open and collaborative training centre is intended to become a beacon of excellence in the robotics sector.
Each year, the new high-tech Sepro training centre will host more than 1,500 trainee technicians from all over the world. The number of Sepro Group trainers will increase from 6 to 8 and the new 800m2 building will be equipped with five teaching rooms, encompassing twice the total teaching space as before. The trainers will also be able to test new apps for services in R&D and software and use the results to introduce new users to technology that will be part of future Sepro Group projects.
“Collaboraissance” (*french word for collaboration and knowledge) is the future for Sepro Group
The company uses the term “collaboraissance” to describe the pursuit of knowledge through collaboration and openness, inside the company and out, locally and on an international level.
Thus, Sepro is strengthening its corporate culture with the idea of amalgamating individual work and group work. To this end, the company seeks to employ individuals who are open and cosmopolitan (with double degrees and/or dual nationality, for instance), who are ready to pool their skills and knowledge in a collaborative work environment.
About Sepro Group:
Sepro Group is the largest robot manufacturer in France. With more than 30,000 equipped IMMs across the globe, Sepro Group is the second largest robot manufacturer in the world. Its range of 3-, 5- or 6-axis servo-controlled robots, and its comprehensive automation solutions, can all be driven from the Visual control platform, which Sepro has specially designed for plastics manufacturing. This universal control is a key component of what Sepro calls “Open Integration” for solutions tailored to specific needs.