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Apologies if this isn't really the right place to be asking, but I was wondering whether third party design firms are ever contracted to design industrial and or consumer robots?

If not is it something that is usually done in house, and who within an org would usually take care of this process?

Thanks.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by CroCo, Paul, Mark Booth Jun 8 '16 at 14:31

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about business practices. $\endgroup$ – Paul Jun 7 '16 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to robotics matt, but I'm afraid that questions like this really aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. We prefer practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Take a look at How to Ask and tour for more information on how stack exchange works. Also, the Robotics question checklist has good advice on how to write a good question. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Jun 8 '16 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ Do a google search for "mechatronic solutions provider" and you will get lots of hits for SME's which specialise in designing and building robotic systems. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Jun 8 '16 at 14:31
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  • Robots are often made multi-purpose. They're usually not redesigned for every other application, that'd cost quite a lot.

  • A company that would like to use a robot, (let's say a packaging company) often doesn't have the knowledge (or experience) in designing and manufacturing robots.

  • The company that would like to use a robot, often doesn't even have the knowledge to program/implement it into their workflow.

Let's say there is a company that's selling bottles of water, called WaterB. Pretty straight forward. Since they do not design robots on a daily basis, they're unlikely to have personnel that can design and "create" a robot efficiently. It will not be cost effective to design a robot for a one-off, and it will have some "quirks" since it's the first version of a company with no experience.

The WaterB company now has a choice, hire another company to design a completely new robot, buy an existing model (and implement it themselves) or hire an "system integrator" (company).

Usually, they'll hire a system integrator, they'll go over the benefits and problems that robots may have and check if there are points in the bottling proces where robots can be used efficiently.

WaterB (or if used, the system integrator) will then most likely buy an existing model of robot, and program it to "palletize" the water bottles.

So yes, there are companies that design and manufacture robots (obviously), but it's often not really something you do "in-house". Due to the long design, development, testing and certification proces.

Designing/developing a robot usually only pays back when you're going to sell multiple of them.

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