Collaborative robots are the next step in the evolution of robots
Published by : Industrial Automation
Harish Chandraprakasam, Director and CEO, MCI Robotics.
As one of the indigenous players in the robotics space what was the rationale and R&D that went into the process?
As a robotics engineer my passion and vision was always ‘Made in India’. If other countries can make it why can’t we? What is stopping us? That being one of the major factors, there were other factors that were considered. The need for automation to improve quality and output at the same time at a SME level. This needed a costeffective approach that needs to be precise and reliable. If one can do this, there a huge market in India.
What does MCI Robotics bring to the table in terms of USP, especially for the SMEs?
MCI robots are designed and manufactured in India. This makes it affordable and supports Indian businesses. German Quality, Japanese Precision, Indian Made.
What is range of robots available to the Indian industry in terms of types and payload capacities?
MCI Robotics have a wide variety of indigenously developed robots and the only one in the country to have such a diverse offering.
AR series – Articulated 6-axis robots with payloads ranging from 5kg to 16kg.
SR series – SCARA 4-axis robots with payloads ranging from 5kg to 10kg.
DR series – Delta 4-axis robots with payloads 1kg to 2kg.
Our latest is the dual arm ARx2. It has two 6-axis robots working together to do complex tasks like a human operator in an assembly line.
How compatible MCI Robotics products are with the concepts of Industry 4.0?
MCI robots are Ethernet based. You can connect to our robots using a Tablet or a PC and program. You can upload data to cloud and monitor remotely as well and monitor remotely. Our robots are compatible with 2D and 3D vision cameras and ROS compatible too.
The machine tool industry is increasingly integrating robots, especially in cells. What is the experience here?
Machine tool industry is one of the biggest markets in India and they are also one of the largest consumers of low to mid payload robots. Due to our cost competitiveness, payload and reach we are best suited for these applications. About 65% of our installations are in machine tool industries. Also, in this industry no two systems are same, which means each system is customised and can handle only one or two products, but product design changes happen all the time and many products these days have a short life span. To handle these situations we have come up with a unique solution to make our systems more flexible and easily adaptable to changes.
How has the entry of collaborative robots impacted the industry – both from vendors and user industries perspective?
Collaborative robots are the next step in the evolution of robots. Intrinsically safe and always aware of its surroundings, isn’t that what we all want in a safe working environment. Industries have always put safety first so it is no surprise that there is a huge interest and sales numbers are exponentially growing in this segment past 5 years. It also shows that industries care about their employees and also are open to new technologies.
That being said, collaborative robots are still restricted by payloads and maximum operational speeds. For high payloads and faster operational speeds one has to still use industrial robots. Most of them don’t involve human-robot interaction.
Indian industry still has low usage of robots barring the automotive sector. How do you see the market evolving in the short and medium term?
The numbers are comparatively low, yes, but the year on year numbers have been increasing at a high rate. This shows that our manufacturing process is evolving and we will be on par with other countries in a very short period. There is a considerable increase of installations in electronics and FMCG industries in the recent years. We are making products for the world at world standards, the numbers are going to increase in order to keep up with the world markets demands.
How do you see automation transforming the future?
Automation is essential to keep up with the market demands. It is important to adopt top technologies to be competitive and cost effective at a world stage. Automation will make things faster, safer and improve one’s life. It will not take up someone’s job but will only open up a plethora of better opportunities.
Harish Chandraprakasam did his Masters in Robotics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He later worked as a Controls Engineer, programming PLCs and designing control panels for Systems Automated Inc., a company doing warehouse automation, eventually heading the projects team. His next stop was Kawasaki Robotics to pursue his passion for robots nurtured from high school, where he was part of the team that developed new robots for the semiconductor industry. At Kawasaki, Harish met his mentor, Mr Yasuhiko Hashimoto, currently President and CEO, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, who was the one who interviewed, hired and taught him many things on the subject. The next stop was Xyratex Inc, in pursuit of more knowledge, learning about Adept, Precise Automation, Beckhoff, Technosoft motion and many other top technologies. Harish returned to India in 2012, and then formed MCI Robotics in 2014. His idea was to take what he learned during his decade of building automated systems and robots in the US and to build robots of Japanese precision and German quality in India. Launched at Automation Expo 2017, the company has since seen sales increase 200% year on year. MCI Robotics is the only Indian robot manufacturer that makes 6 axis articulated type, SCARA, Delta type and Dual articulated systems.