Robotics & Automation News

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ICON sees 20 percent production boost and 40 percent cost reduction through Formic robotics

Formic, a provider of automation across American manufacturing, says its automation partnership with ICON Injection Molding, which involved the deployment of Formic’s Tend solution, has been “successful”.

Arizona-based ICON Injection Molding, which produces plastic parts for laboratory use and defense equipment for clients like Axon, recognized the need to automate but was unable to overcome the barriers of upfront capital, risk, and expertise.

The family-owned business sought to reduce risk to its employees from dangerous, repetitive activities that could potentially lead to injury, staff turnover, operational inefficiencies, and higher prices for end customers.

ICON chose Formic’s Robotic-as-a-Service (RaaS) offering – a zero-risk approach that provides efficient, on-demand access to automation with uptime commitments and no upfront costs.

From day one of deployment, ICON achieved:

  • 40 percent decrease in OpEx
  • 30 percent faster production cycle times
  • Increased production time
  • Reduced injuries to workers
  • Increased internal promotions

Nicole Kleitsch-Killam, ICON’s chief administrative officer, has been with the company for the majority of its history and knows the barriers to automating.

Kleitsch-Killam says: “From our experience, this is enhancing productivity and increasing safety for employees.

“Generally, there is a barrier to entry for automation because high upfront capital makes it expensive. Automation is not something you can go and buy off-the-shelf, so you have to get a custom solution.

“As a custom injection molder, we are running different jobs in our presses every day. There are lots of automation companies out there that lock you into something.

“Formic has given us complete flexibility without locking us into anything – it’s a really symbiotic relationship for both parties.”

Formic’s RaaS solution delivers full-functioning, robotic solutions from leading robotic vendors such as Fanuc, Universal Robots, and Yaskawa Motoman to customers who pay by the hour for usage.

Formic owns, programs, installs, and maintains the robots at its own cost and operates a unique model in which customers do not pay until the system is deployed and fully operational on a customer’s floor.

Additionally, once new systems are activated, Formic covers all the engineering and costs for repair and maintenance and does not charge hourly fees during any downtime.

Misa Ikhechi, Formic co-founder, VP of product and partnerships, says: “Our holistic approach and Pay-for-Productivity model makes cutting-edge automation accessible and simple to SMBs.

“We always put our customer’s best interests first, which means we are technology agnostic. There are other companies offering RaaS services, but they have a single tool and they try to solve every problem with that tool. At Formic, the best solution wins, no matter who makes it.”

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