As the K 2013 plastics industry trade fair nears, Sepro Robotique is on track to nearly double its sales of robots compared to 2010 when the last K Show was held. By the end of 2013 the French supplier of robots and automation systems for plastics injection molding expects to sell more than 1500 units.
Some of that rapid growth is attributable to the general recovery of the global plastics industry after the 2007 – 2010 economic crisis. However, Jean-Michel Renaudeau, CEO of Sepro, says there is much more to it than that.
“Even as the global economy was declining in 2007 and 2008, Sepro was beginning an ambitious new-product development program,” Renaudeau explains. “While other companies cut back as the crisis deepened, we continued to invest heavily. As a result, Sepro has a product line today that is almost entirely new since K 2010 and much was introduced within the last 12 months. We’ve developed strong partnerships with other industry specialists and with injection-molding machine manufacturers who now can offer Sepro robots as a part of a complete plastics process solution. We are expanding our daughter companies in the largest markets of North America and Germany, supporting those in growth markets like Mexico and Brazil, and adding direct sales offices in China and Benelux.
“All of this is aimed at giving plastics processors what we call Your Free Choice in Robots,” Renaudeau continues, “and I think visitors to K 2013 will be quite impressed. Today we are a global company, with in-depth engineering and manufacturing capabilities, strong technical and marketing partnerships, unmatched service and support, and a diverse product offering, and we intend to be the #1 robot supplier in the markets we serve.”
Sepro’s expanding global reach is evident in all the major markets of the world. Sepro America, after less than 5 years as a standalone daughter company, is today the Company’s largest market, accounting for about 20% of company sales. Sepro America has added news sales and service personnel on the U.S. West Coast and East Coast, and is finalizing plans to expand its Pittsburgh headquarters engineering and warehouse facilities. In Germany, which accounts for about 16% of turnover, Sepro last year moved to a new, larger headquarters building in Dietzenbach and has expanded direct sales coverage throughout the country. In Latin America, sales in Mexico have tripled in the last 5 years and growth in Brazil, Colombia and other South American countries are just as impressive. In China, a new direct sales office has been established and Sepro has participated in the big Chinaplas exhibition for the last two years.
In order to support processors who want to buy robots as part of a complete manufacturing cell, Sepro continues to establish close ties with molding machine OEMs. The first such partnership – with Sumitomo Demag – was initiated in 2009 and has been very successful. Sepro robot controls can be integrated into the molding-machine control panel. The depth of that partnership and other growing relationships will be very evident as Sumitomo Demag, Haitian, Romi/Sandretto, JSW Windsor, Billion and others will all be operating Sepro robots on their machines.
SEPRO AT K 2013
In order to show the full depth and breadth of robot technology at K 2013, Sepro will mount its largest exhibit ever. The Company is moving from Hall 10, where it has been located for the last few shows, to Hall 12, Booth A49. There, over 255 m2 of floor space will be used to showcase the newest developments including both general-purpose applications with economical Success Range robots and more complex automation solutions using 5-axis and 6-axis robots developed in partnership with Stäubli Robotics. Sepro will also demonstrate robot-assisted insert molding and multi-material molding. A Sepro in-mold labeling system, developed with technology partner Machines Pagés, can be seen operating in the Sumitomo Demag booth (Hall 15 D22).
“To grow in today’s global marketplace, we need to be able to deliver whatever our processor customers need to help them be successful,” explains Mr. Renaudeau. “And so, we are very excited to present ‘Your Free Choice in Robots’ at K2013 – all levels of technology, in all parts of the world, taking maximum advantage of everything we and our very capable partners know about automating the injection molding process.”
Founded in 1973 and now headquartered in La Roche-sur-Yon (France), Sepro Robotique was one of the first companies in the world to develop Cartesian beam robots for injection-molding machines, introducing its first CNC controlled “manipulator” in 1981. Today, Sepro is one of the largest independent sellers of Cartesian robots. Customers around the world are supported by wholly-owned daughter companies in Germany, Spain, Benelux, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, Brazil and China. Numerous direct sales and service offices as well as independent business partners, distributors and service hubs that extend Sepro’s global network to over 40 other countries. The company’s global turnover is approximately €60 million, with 90% of sales exported from France and 40% sold outside of Europe. Sepro is the largest robot supplier to the automotive industry in Europe and North America, and has equipped more than 25,000 injection-molding machines worldwide.