Growth is in the DNA of French robotics company Sepro (La Roche-sur-Yon). It has broken sales records for the past three years, and 2016 will continue this trend, CEO Jean-Michel Renaudeau confirmed. “We expect a turnover of more than €100 million this year, which is 10% over 2015 results,” he told PlasticsToday from the company’s stand at K 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany, last week. But that’s only one chapter in Sepro’s “growth” narrative: At K 2016, the company also announced new expansions in 2017 and showcased the latest addition to its robotics portfolio: A new five-axis Cartesian beam robot—the largest it has ever built—designed for up to 5000-ton molding machines.
The horizontal-beam 7X-100XL robot that had its world premiere at the K measures 5 meters in length, but can be extended to 10 meters. Featuring a telescopic vertical stroke of 3.2 meters and a maximum payload of 100 kg, the robot is especially suited for automotive applications. At the stand, the 7X-100XL, working collaboratively with the 6X-400 six-axis articulated arm robot, also new from the company, showed its brawn by manipulating a bumper from a Mercedes Benz C class car and a dashboard panel from a Citroën DS.
Automotive has been a good market for Sepro, which exports 85% of its products outside France and one-third outside Europe, but its primary ambition is to develop partnerships with injection molding machine manufacturers. That objective was evident at the K show, where 10 machine manufacturers featured Sepro robots running on their stands. All told, Sepro brought 24 systems to the show this year.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Renaudeau was also eager to discuss Sepro’s plans for 2017, which include—you guessed it—further growth. “In January, we will launch a daughter company in Switzerland—our third new company in 14 months—and we will expand our German facility by 150 square meters,” Renaudeau told PlasticsToday. Also on the agenda: Sepro America will begin manufacturing beams and other components locally and assemble robots that can proudly proclaim, “made in the USA.” The United States is Sepro’s largest market, followed by Germany, France and Mexico.
Next year will also see the launch of several smaller units, including a general purpose robot for molding machines in the 30 to 180 ton range and the new Multi Inject 40 for multi-material molding applications, where a secondary vertical injection unit would interfere with the movement of a standard beam robot.