Where the Future Is Made

By the end of the year Bitrobotics will open production of high-speed industrial robots and robotic systems for FMCG manufacturing in the Technopolis Moscow Special Economic Zone. Svyatoslav Stesin, CEO of Bitrobotics, told about the prospects, market situation, training of young personnel and company's plans.
Svyatoslav Stesin
CEO of Bitrobotics
- How is the industrial robotics market developed in Russia?

- There are many factors influencing market development: FMCG industry growth rate, buying power of population, availability of financial instruments, general level of domestic machine-building industry, availability of personnel for both development and production of equipment as well as for implementation and maintenance, labor cost, migration policy. We can talk about this for a long time. Somewhere there will be pluses, as,for example, in the food market growth rates, somewhere - minuses. However, I can state one thing: almost everywhere we are at the very beginning of the journey.

It is also important to say about one feature of robotic solutions for FMCG: it requires high-performance and high-speed solutions. Automation is relevant for enterprises with high productivity and a wide range of products that can be produced on a single line. Flexible solutions built on high-speed robots are required where smooth operation and frequent product switch are required. Moreover, it is not enough to have one robot - it is necessary to have a complex engineering resulting in a robotic system that consists of many units, besides robots themselves. It is a base-frame, conveyor systems, technical vision, control system. And the robot's share in labor costs and the cost of the final solution will not exceed 40%.

The Russian market today has groups of participants: direct robot manufacturers (in 99% theses are imported robots) and their integrators - international ones for very large customers and domestic ones for the rest. It is good that every year Russian integrators become more demanded by large customers.

- What niche does Bitrobotics have here?

- We don't really belong to either of them. We define ourselves as manufacturers of high-speed industrial robots and related robotic systems. We make all units and install them by ourselves. This allows us not to depend on imported solutions, where we see both technological and financial constraints.

Today, we have a 2-axis robot with a 40-kg load capacity, a 3-axis robot with a 15-kg load capacity and a 3-axis delta robot with a fourth optional axis of the 6-kg load capacity.

We use exactly the number of axes needed for a specific task. This allows for flexibility and efficient project economics for customers. The payback of our systems is two or three years, and this is an understandable and predictable period. Undoubtedly one of the main advantages. In case when a supplier from Italy, Germany, France comes to you, you see the 2.5-3 times higher price and the payback period is within 7 years. That's a big difference.

With the commissioning of a new production facility at Technopolis, we will be able to achieve high series and high production speed. We plan to implement the projects within 4 months after signing the contract.
- Does the company have many competitors in Russia? What is your uniqueness?

- At the moment there are few competitors among Russian companies. In 100% of cases they are integrators with their own limitations. And import solutions do not pay off in our realities. They can only be afforded by large multinational companies and Russian leaders with big financial resources and operating within a longer planning framework.

- Why did you choose Technopolis Moscow SEZ?

- Quality infrastructure, tax and customs benefits. We should not forget that the SEZ is located almost in the center of Moscow, it provides proximity to the main warehouses of components. In terms of logistics, the site is unique.

In the Technopolis Moscow SEZ we have a 1,700-square-meter fill-cycle production facility - from machining to large-knot and finishing assembly and testing.

- Bitrobotics is producing a future that has actually come. And the main question of technological evolution is: can a robot completely replace man?

- It can. It's a matter of time and technology development speed. As for us, we automate simple routine operations where low-skilled labor - often migrants - is employed. Automation is all about money. Effective competitiveness is about reducing costs, and they are also under the human factor risk. In addition, automation gives quality, and the consumer votes for it.

At the same time, the robot maintenance requires a new highly qualified personnel. Typically, our customers are large enterprises that have their own operating engineers, and this staff will be expanded by those who know how to maintain such equipment.

There are departments of robotics at universities. Our company trains in machine maintenance during the implementation process. In the future, we want to open training centers and invest in the education of our customers. Therefore, there will be no direct complete replacement, artificial intelligence in our solutions is limited, which means that we will always need an intelligent engineer who can set up the machine.

- What's going on with staff training? Is it easy to find employees?

- If we take engineering personnel, the main employer today is state corporations. Modern education is aimed precisely at serving them. That's where every engineer makes his little piece. Business and especially a startup can not afford to keep on staff of 300+ design engineers. Our capabilities are 10 times less. And I guess we don't even need anymore: it becomes ineffective. So when graduates comes to us, they have to cope with more tasks than they're used to. The first six months are spent on training, and only then do we understand whether the person meets our needs or not. We agree on such a test before boarding, so everything is transparent. Among our employees there are specialists who graduated from universities in Germany. Most Russian graduates come from the Moscow State Technical Bauman-University, STANKIN and MAI.

- Can a freshly baked graduate with burning eyes get employed in your company?

- It's enough to send a CV to us. We're open and we read the mail promptly.
E-mail: pressprom@mos.ru
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