Dr. Hansruedi Früh, you are Managing Director of F&P Robotics in Glattbrugg, Switzerland. What importance should we attach to Industry 4.0 where we stand today?
For technologically oriented Swiss businesses, Industry 4.0 is a must. Failing to take it seriously will mean falling behind, in Europe and the rest of the world. Industry 4.0 is about enhancing overall business competitiveness. Customers get more transparency, production becomes more systematic and manufacturers gain efficiency, allowing them to profitably produce smaller quantities.
To what extent has this industrial revolution made itself felt within your organization?
Our products are ideal for Industry 4.0 applications. We have integrated the Internet of Things and are working with it. We have not yet come quite so far with the company itself. We are a start-up and are continuously expanding on Industry 4.0 internally.
Have you noticed a change in customer or supplier requirements with respect to Industry 4.0? If so, how is your company addressing that?
Our robots meet customers' requirements, such as having integrated RFID detection. But product transparency has its limits. There is a point at which high-tech companies have to protect their know-how to remain in business long-term.
What exactly is it about your products that is relevant to Industry 4.0?
Our robot, P-Rob, has an artificial intelligence: It is quickly ready for use, regardless of the manufacturing location. It knows certain movements straight from the factory, so customers do not have to program the P-Rob from scratch. And the P-Rob is able to perceive its environment. Thanks to integrated cameras and sensors, the robot can react to changes in its working environment and adapt its behavior accordingly.
2016 Foreign Trade Forum on the topic of Industry 4.0
F&P Personal Robotics will be presenting its robots at this year's Foreign Trade Forum. Stop by and let one of our robots make you a coffee. Further information here.
To the podcast "Industry 4.0: Swiss Robots for Intelligent Factories" (only in German)
To the article "3D Printers Simplify Innovations for Swiss SMEs"
To the dossier Industry 4.0
About F&P: F&P aims to become a leading provider of collaborative lightweight robots. The focus is on reducing automation complexity. Programming and controlling a P-Rob should be made as easy as it possibly can be to allow the robot to be deployed for a host of new applications in manufacturing and the personal services sector. The "P" in P-Rob stands for "personal", a quality that is reflected in its simple and intuitive operability, intrinsic safety concept, and aesthetic design.