Yaskawa Southern Africa names Andrew Crackett as new MD.
In South Africa, manufacturers experience significant challenges. From the stuttering economy to the lack of skills development, there are obstacles that prevent industries from pushing forward into a new era of automation and robotic solutions.
Due to the effects of COVID-19, many businesses might not have a choice but to rapidly adopt this technology, especially if they wish to survive in this new contactless society. Automation is no longer a subpoint in a five-year roadmap, but an item of critical importance.
“Stringent health and safety measures have always been a massive concern for manufacturers, but many organisations will need to double their efforts to meet the new requirements in the post-COVID-19 world,” says Terry Rosenberg, Yaskawa Southern Africa Chairman.
Robotics in South Africa already operating at international standards
“Since our products come from an international source, they already adhere to the strictest health, safety and quality guidelines. As a result, we insist on the same standards in our operations. When a client purchases equipment from us, we recommend they take the mechanical and electrical safety facilities we offer as part of the robotic solution, to ensure safe and responsible machine usage. Further to this, we offer prescribed training for the safe functional use of the equipment once in the production environment,” continued Rosenberg.
Yaskawa Southern Africa has announced that the company has appointed National Sales Manager, Andrew Crackett, to head up operations in the role of Managing Director as of 1 June 2020. Crackett succeeds previous MD, Kurt Rosenberg, who is starting a new chapter in his career within the Yaskawa Group by taking up a position in Sweden
“At the same time, Yaskawa is educating and preparing its clients to operate robots at the required global standards. We have a special academy designed for end-user training. This school provides modules on the basics of robotics, as well as the specific training for the application. Not only will the end users learn how to use and programme the equipment, but they’ll also be taught how to operate it in a safe environment. Furthermore, we provide ongoing training for new employees and other applications that might be introduced at a later stage,” said Rosenberg.
Globally, the automotive industry accounts for a significant portion of every robot produced. According to Statista, the automotive robotics market is the second-largest industrial robotics market. It’s no different in South Africa, where the sector is one of the largest users of robotics solutions. That being said, Rosenberg has seen the adoption of robotics in another key industry.
Growth in the food manufacturing industry
“We’ve seen growth in the food manufacturing industry, particularly in the material handling aspect of the production line where robots are used for the packing and palletising of large volumes of products. When there are mass quantities and heavy lifting, robots are capable of performing the functions that might be too dangerous or impossible for humans to execute,” explained Rosenberg.
“The food manufacturing industry is also cognisant of the impact of the 2017 listeriosis outbreak and now COVID-19. There’s a need to increase the cleanliness of operations and remove the need for human contact. And this can be achieved through the use of robotic solutions,” added Rosenberg.
One of the most common misconceptions about robotics is that it’s strictly aimed at large enterprises. However, Rosenberg stresses this isn’t the case. In fact, he’s seen a substantial interest and increase in the usage of robots in the SMME sector in recent times.
“For some smaller companies, the only way they can produce the required quantity of products is through the use of robotics. As an example, we encountered a small company that operates its dispenser business from a farm. Due to the current pandemic, the demand for its automatic dispensers drastically increased. In order to meet the demand, the solution was to implement a robot that is able to work around the clock.”
Due to the effects of COVID-19, many businesses might not have a choice but to rapidly adopt automation and robotic solutions, especially if they wish to survive in this new contactless society. Automation is no longer a subpoint in a five-year roadmap, but an item of critical importance
“While increasing its production, this business has also had to expand its labour force by 50%, therefore creating more jobs. There’s a fallacy that robots replace human workers,” said Rosenberg.
“That isn’t the case at all, because we’ve seen robotic-powered industries turn into global giants that employ more people over the years. These organisations have been able to grow and add to their ranks thanks to technology. There will always be a need for people to complete challenging tasks that require human reasoning.”
Names Andrew Crackett as new MD
Yaskawa Southern Africa has also announced that the company has appointed National Sales Manager, Andrew Crackett, to head up operations in the role of Managing Director as of 1 June 2020. Crackett succeeds previous MD, Kurt Rosenberg, who is starting a new chapter in his career within the Yaskawa Group by taking up a position in Sweden.
“With the international COVID-19 crisis certain to upend every sector in ways we are only beginning to understand, I am confident that the robotics industry has much to offer South Africa as we work towards resuscitating our economy. In the same way that we have seen the pandemic accelerate the adoption of a work-from-home culture, we believe it too will spur an accelerated move towards robots in the work place,” said Crackett.
Crackett hopes to be able to use his position to accelerate change in the way South Africa works, to meet growing demand in our industries and to establish robotics as an accessible option for South African businesses of all sizes.
“Even small businesses are able to reap benefits from robotic workers in a number of different jobs, from packing and palletising stock to painting and welding. These machines adhere to the strictest safety standards and are able to work consistently 24-hours a day. And as our manufacturers grow, they are able to employ more people, both skilled and unskilled, boosting the economy and providing jobs to the communities in which they operate,” added Crackett.
“Robotics forms an essential pillar of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and with economies, even those in the developed world taking an unprecedented knock in 2020, speed and agility will be key to bouncing back,” said Crackett.
Yaskawa is a robotic automation company that provides solutions for businesses’ various needs. Founded in Japan in 1915 by Keiichiro Yasukawa, Yaskawa is one of the largest manufacturers of industrial robots, with over 400 000 robots installed worldwide and over 2 500 installed in South Africa alone since 1991.
For further details contact Yaskawa Southern Africa on TEL: +27 11 608 3182 or visit www.yaskawa.za.com