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ABB LAUNCHES THE ROBOT PODCAST W


eekly panel of experts from industry and academia look at the cutting edge of robotics, analysing how advances in automation are


benefiting society and business and what the future holds. ABB is introducing a new series of podcasts that explore the innovative and


exciting world of robotics, and their benefit to society in the greatest shift in automation in a generation, brought on by the pandemic. Whether it’s collaborative robots working alongside humans in laboratories


and SME businesses, or industrial robots working in large factories producing the next generation of electric vehicle, robots of all shapes and sizes are making work safer and more efficient for people and companies the world over. Each episode of the Robot Podcast features a panel of experts and takes an in-depth look at some of the most interesting global case studies. Episode one will be available from 17th of February with a further five


episodes landing each Wednesday thereafter, with more to follow later in 2021. The Robot Podcast is hosted by TV presenter and engineering enthusiast,


Fran Scott. She has worked with the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK, as well as the Royal Society of Chemistry and the British Science and Media Museum. Commenting on the Robot Podcast, Scott said: “Robots are revolutionizing productivity, flexibility and quality of life. Each episode, I’m joined by a fantastic panel of expert guests for an open and interesting talk exploring the cutting edge of robotics. From the exciting new world that robots are helping to build, to dissecting the challenges and opportunities that come with it.”


Subscribe now to The Robot Podcast wherever you get you podcasts, or via http://smarturl.it/therobotpodcast


OVER HALF OF LOGISTICS BUSINESS LEADERS RESISTANT TO DIGITAL PROGRESS O


utdated attitudes towards technology amongst senior logistics business leaders


are at risk of jeopardising future business survival, new research has found. The Connected Enterprise report, produced


by digital transformation specialists Sigma Dynamics, in partnership with applied futurist Tom Cheesewright, reveals that more than half of (57 per cent) of C-suite executives, directors and senior managers are sceptical about the benefits of implementing new business technology. Exploring this scepticism, the research shows


that 63 per cent are doubtful that it improves efficiency, 57 per cent cynical about its ability to improve productivity, and 72 per cent question its positive impact on customer relationships. Interestingly, more than half (51 per cent)


think technology can cause problems if not implemented carefully, while 37 per cent believe that the cost often outweighs the benefits, and 17 per cent worry that it can create an unnecessary burden on employees. Colin Crow, managing director of Sigma


Dynamics, commented: “From these statistics we can infer that there are many senior members of


the logistics industry that have been burned by previous digital transformation efforts. It is unfortunately quite common for businesses to choose the wrong technologies, or roll them out without enough support for employees, which can be very costly mistakes. “Some of these misconceptions are therefore


understandable, but as the twin threats of Brexit and the Covid-19 have shown us over the past year, the business landscape can change with incredible speed. “Organisations must be agile and open-


minded in order to cope with the impact of these, and other, national and global challenges that we will all inevitably face, and it will soon become almost impossible for businesses to thrive without the help of strategically planned and implemented technological innovations. “However, from our research it’s frustratingly


clear that these events still have not served as a wake-up call for complacent business leaders.” The report found that more than half (51 per


cent) of those surveyed believe that Brexit will have an impact on their customers’ demands and expectations over the next five years, while


almost three quarters (71 per cent) think that the pandemic will, suggesting that the vast majority are conscious of some of the difficulties that potentially lie ahead. However, 83 per cent said that they don’t


believe that changes in customer demands and expectations will require the adoption of more business technology, and 40 per cent don’t believe that events such as Brexit and the Covid- 19 pandemic have made business technology more essential to success. Worryingly, a fifth (20 per cent) said that they


believe that the technology they currently use will remain sufficient for the foreseeable future. Applied futurist, Tom Cheesewright, added:


“Covid-19 catalysed investment in technology, but that investment was often overdue. If we are to avoid playing catch-up when the next challenge hits – or the next opportunity appears – then we should be thinking now about what changes to our technology, processes, culture and models can best prepare us for the future. “Making the right investments in technology,


and skills, is a critical part of future-proofing any business, adding resilience and agility.”


REECO EXPANDS TO MEET DEMAND FOR COBOT TECHNOLOGY A


collaborative robot specialist is expanding to meet the growing demand of its customers in the UK and internationally.


Reeco is currently doubling the size of its premises in Newtown, Mid-


Wales, from 5,500 sq. ft. to more than 11,000 sq. ft. The enlarged space will enable the company to have dedicated factory


areas for assembly and metal work, cutting and welding. It will also provide extra office accommodation and a dedicated training centre. The company has also increased its workforce in the last 18 months from


8 to 22 and expects to recruit further as the additional space allows it to take on more projects. Reeco is a turnkey solutions provider for collaborative robots – known as


cobots – integrating technology on to production lines for many different sectors including automotive, food and beverage and logistics. Customers include Ford, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell and Unilever. It was also


recently selected by OMRON, a global industrial automation vendor, as its first OMRON Solutions Partner. Reeco was founded in August 2016 by managing director Llewelyn Rees.


Before setting up Reeco, Llewelyn spent 15 years working in industrial robot technology. Llewelyn said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Reeco and for cobot


technology which is helping businesses across many different sectors solve every day problems. “Industrial automation is now an integral part of many sectors including


automotive and packaging. “There is a much greater understanding of how cobots can complement


/ IRISHMANUFACTURING IRISH MANUFACTURING | FEBRUARY 2021 5


the human workforce, releasing employees to work on more valuable, skilled tasks while the cobots handle the more repetitive requirements. Reeco is also committed to creating jobs, from apprentices to more


experienced engineers, in the Mid-Wales area. Llewelyn said: “We have already taken on a number of apprentices and


work closely with the local colleges and universities. “The expansion of our premises to include the dedicated training centre


will provide further scope for us to introduce students to the world of cobot technology and demonstrate that you can live in rural Wales and work in the technology sector. “The training centre will also be invaluable for demonstrating the technology and its many applications to our customers and partners.”


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