KUKA’s tiered system partner program enables KUKA to strengthen the breadth and depth of expertise available to its customers. The network, comprises integrators across Silver, Gold and Platinum accreditation, ranging from small, niche operators to large enterprises, operating in markets as diverse as entertainment and film, food and drink and the aerospace supply chain.
Bath based Active8 Robots joined the System Partner Program in 2017. The industrial and collaborative robot integrator provides automation solutions across all sectors of the manufacturing industry, from conceptualisation through to delivery.
Now into their fourth year as official KUKA system partners, Active8 have witnessed an increase in endorsements of robot automation across a number of sectors, as businesses focus upon operational resilience in light of the recent pandemic, and other influencing factors such as Brexit and the skills gap. This increase in activity and Active8 Robots’ continued commitment to the KUKA brand sees them achieve Gold system partner status within the partner program.
“It is a tiered structure,” says Bernard Bagley, Head of Robot Sales, General Industry, KUKA UK. “We encourage and support our system partners right up to Platinum level, based upon the number of robots they sell. Active8’s sales of KUKA industrial robots has increased in recent months, earning them their well-deserved promotion”.
Of the accreditation, Michael Payne, Food & Beverage Sector Manager, KUKA UK said “Their (Active8 Robots) level of technical capability and attention to detail make for some truly impressive systems. Active8 Robots is well positioned in the market as one of the UK’s leading automation suppliers, particularly within the field of robotics for food and beverage automation”.
“80 per cent of our robot sales are through system partners,” says Bernard. “What they bring to the table is specialist skills and knowledge in their sector, for customers that need equipment integration and programming. For some, we are the first point of contact for businesses who wish to start their automation journey. Having had no exposure to robot automation before it can be daunting to understand exactly what they wish to achieve. This is where our system partners support this process”.
KUKA believes the food and beverage sector will be the biggest growth market for robots in 2021. The future of manufacturing is about being flexible and agile. Those companies with robots are able to react better and faster to challenges, such as the recent crisis by being able to scale production up or down as a reaction to market demands.
Michael Codd, Business Development Lead at Active8 Robots says: “Although the lockdowns affected the supply chain in terms of product and labour, the demand for food and beverage products soared. As a consequence of this, we experienced an increased demand for robotics and automation technologies. We are seeing some food and drinks manufacturers / processors struggling to fulfil orders whilst trying to stay relevant in a dynamic market environment and on the other hand, we are seeing their competitors investing in smart automation, not only to scale production and streamline operations, but to be able respond quickly to the increasingly variable and volatile demands of their customers. For example, upgrading one of our processing and packaging customers’ automation levels allowed them to introduce new products on the same lines that could be switched over swiftly and produce shorter runs”.
Every industry and every company have its own unique requirements and regardless of what they might be, we have seen those who have adopted the use of robots improve their competitive edge, leaps and bounds. This has been complemented by other factors such as less waste, greater energy efficiency, greater throughput and of course greater profitability.
We are confident that the government’s Super Deduction Scheme will make robots more accessible to more British companies in all sectors and encourage them to bring their automation investments forward so that they too can reap the benefits.”
Having recently moved into new premises and with an expansion of their head count, Michael is anticipating big things for Active8 Robots and their immediate future. “It was an absolute pleasure to present Active8 Robots with their well-deserved promotion to Gold partner status. I thoroughly enjoy working with the whole team. It’s great to see such a friendly and engaging bunch succeed, and I expect this success to continue as demand for robot automation within the food & beverage sector continues to rise”.
“KUKA’s technical expertise and passion for innovation combined with outstanding support for its system partners greatly enhances our capabilities. This helps us deliver a seamless integration service to our customers, which in turn helps them transform, perform and thrive better and faster. As our business grows, our relationship will grow. Not only that, it’s always a pleasure working with such a great team!”
Bernard concludes “The partner program encourages constructive engagement between KUKA and our integrators. As time goes on, our relationships become closer: an open and symbiotic partnership. It’s win-win-win, for us, our system partners and the customers”.