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Rather than fearing robotics and automation, Australian industry should embrace it, a robotics expert insists.
William Pagnon, the CEO and founder of Freelance Robotics, says Australian companies – particularly in the manufacturing sector – have been slow to embrace Industry 4.0 compared with other advanced nations.
“Perhaps it is a fear of failure or a reluctance to change. But they are doomed if they don’t embrace it,” he warns.
“They simply cannot survive … it’s a case of automate or die.
“Companies that don’t change with the times will become less competitive and their margins will be much thinner. It’s impossible to compete globally.”
Mr Pagnon says with any transition there is always a bit of pain – and always a few hiccups – that is normal.
“But automation delivers better outcomes for both consumers and producers.”
- Increased production
- Decreased labour costs
- Increased profit margins
- Improved workplace safety
- Improved quality
- Less floorspace needed for production
Based in Brisbane, Freelance Robotics assists companies to make the transition to Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT).
Their services include robotics & automation, artificial intelligence (AI), Information Technology (IT), software development, electronics, mechanics, custom built drones, custom sensor systems, navigation systems and Data Mining systems.
For its clients the company has developed a host of solutions including factory labelling systems, “smart” windows, a smart smoke alarm and even a lawn bowls scoring system.
Freelance Robotics also assists companies with R&D projects and works closely with Startups to develop prototypes to take to market.
Solutions on display at ICRA 2018
In collaboration with global automation giant Omron, Freelance Robotics had some of its high tech solutions on display at the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2018) in Brisbane.
This included Omron’s smart LD series mobile robot and a Quattro Parallel robot for high-speed applications in packaging, manufacturing, assembly, and material handling.
Freelance Robotics supplies a full range of Omron products including its renowned Sysmac automation platform.
“We have been working with Omron on different projects for many years,” Mr Pagnon says.
“Omron provides a total solution. Their products are easy to use and very reliable.
“They can be used for simple projects or for something out of the box – it gives you both options.”
Mr Pagnon says ICRA was a great opportunity for Australia to showcase its robotics technology to the world.
“It was a great coup for Brisbane and I was proud to be a part of it.”IMG_6509
Fascination for machines
Brisbane is fast earning a reputation as Australia’s robotics hub, with the Australian Centre for Robitics Vision, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of Queensland (UQ) and the CSIRO all based there.
And Freelance Robotics is one of several robotics companies now calling Brisbane home.
Mr Pagnon, who has two Masters degrees – one in robotics and automation from E.S.I.E.A. (France) and one in Mechatronics from the University of Queensland (UQ) – was always destined for a career in robotics.
As a young boy growing up in Brittany, he had a fascination for machines.
At that time, most children in France were happy to turn on the TV and watch.
“But I wanted to know how the TV works,” he explains.
“When I turned 14 I decided I wanted a career in engineering and robotics – I could see then this would be the future.”
Mr Pagnon moved to Brisbane from France 13 years ago to study mechatronics at UQ.
Author: Tim Michael
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