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Innovative and Affordable Pick and Place Robots with 10µm high mechanical accuracy and Advanced Computer Vision Algorithms for automatic electronics assembly manufacturing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VisionBot (Innovative and Affordable Pick and Place Robots with 10µm high mechanical accuracy and Advanced Computer Vision Algorithms for automatic electronics assembly manufacturing)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2017-08-31

" VisionBot is addressing one of the greatest problems in electronics manufacturing namely making the electronic boards assembly to be affordable. Even in the year of 2017 electronic assembly represents a great challenge for most SMEs and startups. Mass producing electronic prototypes or boards requires factories equipped with multiple Pick and Place machines. Most of the electronic assembly factories have investments worth of a few hundreds million dollars. To start a manufacturing facility for electronics is always difficult because it involves a lot of investment while the profit will come only later on, after the commercialization is done. So at the beginning, SMEs need to take some major risks. Because of this, a great number of electronic inventions, products have remained at the stage of prototyping and never been mass-product. Many electronic devices never saw the light because their creators were lacking access to assembling facilities. Millions of makers, inventors, electrical engineers and Small and Medium Enterprises had encountered the problem of manufacturing in great amounts industrial electronic products based on prototypes. These creators either have to outsource the electronic production to big electronic manufacturers from China or to buy expensive machines that can cost up to a hundred thousand euro machines. Even the majority of start-ups and SMEs don't have access to enough funds to build an automatized electronic assembly facility, thus being forced to assemble and manufacture the electronic boards using labours. VisionBot is about offering good quality at a reasonable price lowering the starting risks for manufacturers. Moreover, in this way more and more makers will be helped in their start-ups or they actually be encouraged to start new ones.
VisionBot's slogan is: ""Designed by a maker for makers"". VisionBot was built by a maker to help and enable other creators to build their own manufacturing lines so that they can start their own business in electronics. Our big ambition though VisionBot is to facilitate up to a few millions of people enabling them to manufacture gadgets, IoT devices and electronics in their own garages without being dependent on Electronics Manufacturing Services or big electronics factories. VisionBot will enable people and companies to assembly electronics fast and affordable. Manufacturing and delivering the VisionBot affordable Pick and Place robots to customers will help and foster the hardware ecosystems from Romanian and the European Union. VisionBot will allow multiple start-ups from our local communities to have access to affordable productions machines enabling them to bring their new electronic technologies and devices a reality to the world. VisionBot impact is not solely to the makers to manufacture electronic products, but also it will enable other million users to have access to electronic devices that couldn't see the light. If 3D printers started a revolution in prototyping design, we believe VisionBot can start the technological revolution for medium electronic production. By this way, VisionBot reduces market entry barriers for millions of makers who were struggling to bring their ideas to the world. We want to create and deliver a professional, low and medium-quantity (250 products/day) manufacturing line for makers to help them with the production of their products based on prototypes.
The three major objectives from the proposal had been accomplished. The first and most important objective was to conduct and compile a feasibility report to enable our company to gather knowledge and insights enabling us to become a key player in the global competitive market. This objective has been accomplished by interacting with early adopters and potential buyers for our robots. Moreover, we assembled 10 VisionBot units and even commercialized to a customer based in Alba Iulia.
The 2nd objective was to analyse the feasibility of the VisionBot machines by testing its"
During the 6 months implementation, our activities ranged from manufacturing, commercializing to market analysing and customer support respecting the proposed plan. The VisionBot project had three main objectives in order to compile a feasibility report with the final purpose to enable our company to start manufacturing and commercializing in great numbers the VisionBot machines. According to the deliverables, the proposed market analysis strategy was planned to manufacture and sell a few robots directly to customers in order to collect valuable data. In the last 6 months, we have completed manufacturing 10 VisionBot units, sold two products to two national customers from Alba Iulia and Deva and now we are in discussions with two other customers for shipping two VisionBot SMT Placement Equipment. To accomplish the first major objective, we have acquired the required electronics and mechanical components to manufacture up to 10 VisionBot units in our own facility. The entire manufacturing process has been done in our headquarter from Ramnicu Valcea, Romania. Respecting the working package and the project timeline, we have established and created a new working point - office for our company in Romania’s biggest city, Bucharest. In order to build the office, we have purchased 4 quad-core computers, LED displays, whiteboard and much other useful equipment for this new office to facilitate our work. In this new office, we have done software development to improve the dedicated software and the firmware of the VisionBot v2 models. Moreover, the collected data and analytics, customer interactions and customer support have been done in our new location from Bucharest. In the 6 months, we had interacted with about 100 potential customers who were interested in our disruptive Pick and Place machine.
Another work performed was to study the mechanical and economical reliability of our SMT Placement Equipment solutions. This has been done through assembling at full speed several hundreds of electronic boards and products that have LED Panels or SMD electronic components. One of these products was a smart socket we manufactured for a collaboration with a software company from Constanta. The company assembled 20 full-colour RGB LED Panels, 30 RED and 10 smart sockets. In the same batch, we also assembled using our own VisionBot machines the entire electronics required for the next 10 Pick and Place machines. By testing the mechanical and economical reliability of VisionBot in real-time Printed Circuit board Assembly Process, our company got access to very important insights and analytics to improve the mechanical design, remove software bugs and optimize our machines for long use by customers. This helped our company to improve by redesigning the next 10 units we have manufactured during the 6 months of the project and the next generations of VisionBot machines we will manufacture in the near future.
From interacting with early adopters and customers, the company designed the 2nd generation of the VisionBot machines that includes a lot of mechanical improvements to satisfy more customers needs. We introduced two placing heads, boosting the speed of the machines by doubling the components per hour. To improve the mechanical precision, VisionBot 2nd generation includes lead screwball replacing the previous linear rail and block solution for Y-axis. About 170 of early adopters and potential customers contacted us through our website either to buy our solutions or to provide key values.
Besides interacting with potential customers, we have been invited to present VisionBot and other products in front of an amazing audience pitching the technical solutions at UNLEASH 2017, in Madrid, Spain, ITCFest festival in Dubai, UAE and Winter Enrichment Program at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia.
The customers we had so far use our machines, VisionBot to assembly and produce their electronic devices
During the program, we already assembled and manufactured 10 VisionBot units. In the following months, after the program, we are interested in manufacturing and commercializing more VisionBot machines to customers from the European Union and over the world. We have already sold a couple of units of VisionBot machines to customers who had used our machines assembling and producing their own electronic devices in great amounts. After our customers assemble the electronic boards with the VisionBot robots, they commercialize their devices impacting a greater number of people who use their electronic products. By this way, VisionBot facilitates a large number of users to have access to electronic devices that otherwise wouldn’t exist. These devices were harder to be produced without VisionBot because the creators had to buy more expensive assembly robots or to externalize the production to big manufacturing factories from China. From our own experiments, the VisionBot customers can assembly about 100,000 electronic products per year. By this way, VisionBot facilitates a lot of electronic devices, IoT devices and medical gadgets to see the light and change the world we live in. Moreover, the final beneficiaries are the people who use the electronic products assembled by our customers using the VisionBot machines.
During the 6 months program, we had been interacting and discussing with more than 170 potential customers and early adopters who were willing to buy and use our VisionBot machines to start manufacturing electronic boards. The people and companies that contacted us to acquire and use our machines were from North and South America, Europe, Middle East and South Asia. Our plan and the new goal is to ship the next units mostly to European customers by starting a full-scale manufacturing process for VisionBot.
VisionBot was designed specifically to be mid-size and suited for startups and SMEs. With VisionBot, Europeans will no longer have to externalize the electronic manufacturing to foreign countries. Our vision is to enable electronic products and many breakthrough electronic devices to be created and assembled in the European Union by makers, startups and SMEs with VisionBot machines. The new industrial revolution can start right now in the European Union by allowing unemployed young inventors, students, SMEs and makers to manufacture low-cost their own products in garages changing dramatically the lives of millions of Europeans.
From the societal impact perspective, VisionBot can inspire young entrepreneurs from European technical universities to put into practice their ideas enabling them to create and manufacture their own prototypes of electronic devices. We are planning to launch an international online competition with the slogan: Turn your prototype into a successful electronic product with VisionBot. By this way, we are aiming to allow students and makers to create their own electronic devices. The production of the winning product could represent a valuable opportunity for European technical universities to create start-ups and spin-offs in order to enable them to commercialize new disruptive products.
Our website got accessed by more than 40,000 unique visitors in the last 6 months without spending marketing resources. The users interested in our solutions were from 100+ countries from all over the world. The most requests for our solutions and the website's visitors were from USA, Romania, UK, India, Germany, Canada, Italy, Spain Australia and Netherlands - summing about 50% of the visitors. These numbers show us that our product VisionBot has a great online socio-economic impact and our solutions are taken in considerations by many electronics companies. We have got a lot of interest and calls for tenders through the contact messages received from people who asked us questions about the product or for a price/quotation. The product has already created a great online impact and we are foc
The 2nd Generation of the VisionBot machines that was shipped to a customer from Alba Iulia
The new working point/office opened in Bucharest
The 2nd Generation of the VisionBot machines that was shipped to a customer from Alba Iulia
The 2nd Generation of the VisionBot machines that was shipped to a customer from Alba Iulia
VisionBot Software Update
The 2nd Generation of the VisionBot machines that was shipped to a customer from Alba Iulia