Sepro seizes greater small machine automation share, boosts staff

Anaheim, CA—Coming off its best year ever, automation supplier Sepro America LLC (Pittsburgh, PA) announced the addition of two new regional sales managers, effectively doubling its staff as its recent push into the smaller robot market gains traction. "[Sepro] sees a lot of growth potential here on the West Coast; that's why we added [Paul Rudzinski and Lorne Burke]; customer-driven demand," explained Jim Healy, VP sales and marketing for Sepro America. Healy discussed the addition of Rudzinski as West Coast Regional Sales Manager and Burke as East Coast Regional Sales Manager from the company's booth at Plastec West 2013 (Anaheim Convention Center; Anaheim, CA).

Sepro S5-15"Last year we had the largest amount of new customers we've ever had," Healy said. "We're seeing things come back from China and a lot of reshoring going on. Customers know they have to be competitive and automation is one way to do that."

Rudzinsky, whose experience includes 26 years with Milacron and work with medical device suppliers MedPlast and Pro-Dex, said the western market holds a lot of potential for automation on smaller machines, 300 tons and below, particularly in medical.

"In all tight-tolerance work, especially with the FDA, everything you can do to tie down the process and take the operator out of the cycle is important," Rudzinsky said, noting that robot control of parts can allow molders to do inline inspection of parts, accepting and rejecting on the fly. 

Burke's plastics career dates back to 1983, when he joined the automation sales staff at Application Engineering Corp., which he returned to after a stint at a startup industrial automation company. In 1995, he helped establish independent manufacturer's representative company, Proline Machinery Sales.

At Plastec West, Sepro ran one of its S5-15 Cartesian beam robots, part of a line of 3-axis servo robots for both pick-and-place general-purpose and technologically advanced applications. The S5-15 is the smallest model in that line, with the two other models, S5-25 and S5-35, targeting machines from 120 to 500 tons and 350 to 800 tons, respectively.

In a release, Sepro reported that its share of small robot sales has nearly tripled since 2009: the year it became a standalone daughter company of its French parent, Sepro Robotique. It reports to have also increased its market share in the large machine space, where it say it is the leader.

Healy told PlasticsToday that growth in terms of total units was more than 30% over five years ago. Healy said Sepro had been known for automation systems attached to machine sizes of 700 to 1000 tons and up, putting a lot of its customers in the automotive space. More recently, the company has been putting research and product development dollars into smaller systems, so that now, except for its larger G4 robot line, all its automation systems are completely new over the last four years. "Our success is an outgrowth of investments Sepro has made in technology," Healy said. "We were growing when the economy wasn't."

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