Irish cobot supplier Universal Robots will introduce its first-ever ‘SME Automation Month’ this October.
The month will be dedicated to supporting Ireland’s community of small and mid-size enterprises to understand and access collaborative robots (cobots) to begin to bounce back from the challenges of COVID-19.
The month, designed specifically to tackle the pain points faced by smaller businesses when adopting automation, will offer free resources such as webinars and online, one-to-one consultations with local automation experts, as well as new leasing options which will allow SMEs to reap the financial rewards of automation before having to start payback on their cobot.
The full SME Automation Month offering includes:
- Introductory Webinar – SMEs can join a webinar on Wednesday 7th October at 11:00am which will detail the month’s offering in full.
- Free Automation Assessments – connect with experts who can analyse existing operations and detail where cobots can optimise production.
- New Leasing Terms – UR is introducing a new ‘buy now, start paying 2021’ leasing programme for SMEs.
- Expert training – businesses can train their team in cobot programming within 2-4 days.
- Quick setup – cobots can be set up within 30 minutes.
Mark Gray, Ireland country manager said: “Following a challenging period for the industry, greater adoption of automation is critical across the Irish SME landscape to allow producers to support jobs by ensuring they are competitive, efficient and flexible enough to thrive now and into the future. Yet, we know that many Irish SMEs still feel ill-equipped to start their journey with automation. We also appreciate that during these uncertain times, SMEs are understandably reluctant to invest in new technologies, but with cobots, smaller businesses can reap the benefits, almost immediately and at an affordable cost.
“We’d love to see Irish SMEs engaging with automation like we have seen across the UK in recent months and SME Automation Month is an ideal time to do so. Bloom in a Box used our cobots to adapt their operations quickly during the initial coronavirus outbreak, switching their production line from packing flowers to manufacturing PPE, proving that whether a business wants to improve existing operations or quickly adapt to a new market opportunity, cobots make it simpler to be flexible and stay profitable.
“At Universal Robots, we’ve seen a huge increase in the frequency of cobots in the Irish workplace in the last 12 months, with approximately 250 cobots in place across the country as it stands. In addition, there has been huge variation in the types of workplace enquiring and adopting cobots to perform specific functions. And while we do envisage that cobots will make their way into more consumer-facing outlets in retail, hospitality and healthcare quite soon, it’s highly unlikely that a cobot is a threat to your job.
“The magic of cobots is that they are purposefully designed to change the workplace for the better – to collaborate with humans and make their working life easier. In addition, cobots make the workplace safer by ensuring that humans no longer have to do dangerous or overtly manual labour. Now with distancing a key measure in the fight against Coronavirus, cobots pose a real opportunity for SMEs.
“We hope that the increased prevalence of cobots, as part of the rise of automation will deliver a positive shift in the perceptions held towards them. For us, it’s all about education and helping people to see the benefits to understand that cobots are here to support and empower.”