The main feature for RoboJob this year was further international expansion. New partnerships have been put into place with dealers in Germany, Switzerland and France, where RoboJob had a very strong start. This internationalization will do no harm for the company from Heist-op-den-Berg: it is already now established that 2016 will go down in the books as a record year for RoboJob.
“All of us have worked extremely hard on this,” says a proud Helmut De Roovere. De Roovere started with RoboJob almost 10 years ago after he himself had experienced the challenge of the machining industry at sister company Aluro CNC. He joined forces with former classmate and good friend, Luc De Ceuster. In 2017 they’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of RoboJob, and they can look back with satisfaction. "Our standard systems are being successfully installed throughout Western Europe and in the meantime also beyond. The 300 mark has been passed this year and we’re working hard on doubling this in 2 years. Our Turn-Assist and Mill-Assist products have now become the standard in the market and our installation teams are constantly succeeding in completing installations faster. This is because long-term partnerships have been set up with machine manufacturers and their partners, and we’re increasingly speaking the same language. Witness to this is also the trend towards Industry 4.0. Already we're chiefly looking ahead, because there are still a lot of challenges,” says De Roovere.
“Our mission at RoboJob is, as we know, to revitalize the machining sector. We are convinced that with our automation we can make a contribution to the profitability, efficiency and flexibility of our customers. Those companies, mainly suppliers and equipment manufacturers, have been faced with very significant challenges over the last 10 years. There has been a structural change in their customers’ supply chain, whereby they’ve been forced to produce faster, but in smaller volumes than was previously the case. And as we know, their clients aren’t keen on building large stocks, because this costs money,” says De Roovere. “Moreover, those customers are looking to the east, where they can often have their components produced cheaper. These three elements ensure lots of stress, not only for the manager but also in the workplace. And that scares off young technicians from starting work with suppliers. The result is that good workers are hard to find."
“With RoboJob we’re trying to do our bit by radically tackling those challenges. For 10 years now we’ve been saying that suppliers and also machine manufacturers need to revise their way of working. A flexible labour regime, such as the day-jobs in Germany, shows that the problem is recognized, but there are, in our opinion, other ways of tackling those problems. Such a flexible regime indeed asks even more of the working man or woman. And that again ensures more stress,” says De Roovere. "As a result of our automation, we’re able to ensure that suppliers and equipment manufacturers now have a structural solution for addressing these challenges. A robot can indeed continue to work after hours, and thanks to our software, it can also be used even for the smaller volumes that have become reality today. In addition, they should be able to complete multiple jobs and this is fully in line with two new product lines that are now on the programme. These will completely run on our new and state-of-the-art software platform. With this we are ready for the next big step,” says De Roovere giving a giving a hint of what’s in store. What these product lines mean remains confidential for the time being.
The message has arrived, as evidenced by initiatives such as Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing and Factories of the Future. "All these initiatives have one thing in common: if Western European companies want to remain competitive in the global market today, then the production method needs to change. By using automation you not only tackle your profitability, flexibility and efficiency, but you also make the job content of your employees more attractive. Indeed, our robots don’t take any work away. They make the job more interesting: the boring, monotonous and physical series work is taken over by our robots. And that makes room for complex piecework, process improvement, training or other challenges.”
At RoboJob too, young technicians are being deployed. “80% or our team consists of employees younger than 30. Each one of them young graduates, whose technical studies have been completed. At RoboJob they can indulge themselves in technical challenges in mechanics or software. In the coming years this team will continue working towards new opportunities, new products and continuous innovation, which will ensure that our industry has a future,” says a very determined De Roovere.
In the meantime, RoboJob’s sales figures show that the company is definitely going in the right direction. These figures show an impressive growth of the company, not only in the Benelux but far beyond. With dealers and customers in the whole of Western Europe, and also Australia, RoboJob continues to build on the viability of the machining industry.
Next year there will be new challenges waiting. The Belgian CNC specialist may well celebrate its 10th anniversary then and will especially continue working hard on further internationalization, but RoboJob promises to spare no expense on new products, extensions and applications.