Eckhart, an Industry 4.0 solutions provider, today announced participation in the 3M (NYSE:MMM) Robotics Network with a focus on the automation of metal finishing processes using KUKA’s innovative ready2_grind pre-configured and coordinated application package. All three companies seek to grow the role of robots as an alternative to the manual deburring, polishing, and grinding of components that dominate the factory floors of agricultural & mining equipment manufacturers, medical device makers, and defense companies. The 3M Robotics Network centralizes best practices and increases awareness in the industrial market for what has historically been considered a niche robotic application.
Eckhart’s participation in the 3M Robotics Network builds upon their existing relationship with 3M which includes the successful co-development of the 3M™ Automated Taping System (ATS), a collaborative robot-based solution for tape application.
“At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve life. Transforming metal by grinding, sanding, and deburring is a harsh process traditionally done by humans, but one that’s increasingly suited for off-the-shelf automation. We see a significant opportunity to define and grow the ecosystem of abrasive process experts and automation providers in order to ultimately deliver real value to 3M customers,” said Matthew Purdin, 3M Global Robotics Marketing Manager. “The Robotics Network contains a small number of preferred integrators, like Eckhart, that have demonstrated a high capability in the space and see the opportunity in the marketplace like we do.”
Daniel Burseth, Eckhart’s Vice President of Business Development, adds, “Eckhart is excited to grow our relationship with 3M and KUKA in a new way. The market reaction to the 3M™ Automated Taping System has been fantastic, and we see similar potential to grow the role of abrasive process automation within our Fortune 500 customer base.”
Eckhart designs, builds, and sustains custom automation systems for the world’s largest manufacturers and expects the chronic labor shortage in the manufacturing sector to accelerate. “When factory leaders evaluate which positions are hardest to fill, they find few applicants interested in pushing a grinder around a weldment for 10 hours a day,” Burseth continues. “This quality of life consideration, coupled with the ease of a pre-configured solution like ready2_grind, make this collaboration a very exciting opportunity for Eckhart and our customers.”
Ready2_grind is the latest offering in KUKA’s ready2_use collection of pre-configured and coordinated application packages. Alongside offerings like ready2_spray and ready2_spot, ready2_grind bundles years of best practices into an integrated solution consisting of a KUKA robot & 3M grinding tool, abrasive, and process expertise. “We believe that ready2_grind drastically simplifies the effort to automate. Component selection and integration, as well as the method for process development, have all been optimized,” said KUKA Senior VP of Sales & Marketing, North America, Simon Whitton. “Manufacturers in the welding industry are looking to improve production rates, and ready2_grind’s accuracy and precision enable consistent production and maximum efficiency.”
Integration of ready2_grind through the 3M Robotics Network is generally available for any manufacturing environment. Learn more at www.eckhartusa.com
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For over 60 years and based in Warren, Michigan, Eckhart designs, builds, and sustains advanced industrial solutions that enhance the quality of life. Eckhart’s proven portfolio of Industry 4.0 technology includes AUTOCRAFT™ autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), collaborative robotic systems, traditional robotics, assembly line design & simulation, 3D printing tool development & production, and Factory of the Future consulting for the world’s largest manufacturers. Eckhart serves an established and loyal blue-chip customer base of leading automotive and industrial original equipment manufacturers. Learn more at www.eckhartusa.com.
KUKA is a global automation corporation with sales of around EUR 3.2 billion and around 14,200 employees. As a leading global supplier of intelligent automation solutions KUKA offers its customers everything from a single source: from robots and cells to fully automated systems and their networking in markets such as automotive, electronics, general industry, consumer goods, e-commerce/retail and healthcare. The KUKA Group is headquartered in Augsburg, Germany.