Finding the right robotics company to partner with is a big step. How will you know where to begin? Depending on your own internal robotics team’s experience level, you might not know where to start when interviewing a robotics company as a potential partner for your next project.
Previously, we published a list of factors to help define your robotics project. Once your requirements are well defined, here are some things that are important to consider when choosing a robotics company:
Robotics Company Differentiator #1: Experience
This is likely the most important criteria when looking for a partner in any venture, and it’s also the first criteria you should start when looking for a robotics company. Ask about the engineering team and their previous experience. The following questions should help you get started:
- How long have they been in this career field?
- Does their current experience uniquely bring together the requisite background in mechanical, electrical, software and vehicle dynamics?
- What are some recent projects they’ve worked on?
- What is their familiarity with the platforms you are considering for your project?
Team chemistry is a critical aspect of your evaluation process. Talk to the team that will be working on your project, and explain your problems. If they cannot articulate the details of how to solve your specific problem, you might want to find another team of engineers.
Robotics Company Differentiator #2: Facility Capabilities
When interviewing robotics companies request a corporate visit and ask for a tour of their facility. If an in-person tour is not feasible due to proximity, request a virtual tour of their facility. It’s also a good idea to consider the following criteria in relation to their facility:
- Do they have all of the machining equipment necessary to customize parts and build and integrate all components on-site? For example, do they have a 3D printer on site?
- What kind of equipment do they have?
- Are they able to customize and integrate in a rapid prototype timeframe with guaranteed results and at a reasonable price?
These capabilities when combined with the experience of the actual engineering team dedicated to your project directly impact not only the consistency but also the efficiency. These items directly translate into both time AND money.
Robotics Company Differentiator #3: Time to Market
A key differentiator in robotics and engineering companies becomes very important after your prototype has been built. Once the prototype has been completed, designs are set, and once you have funding; now you need to get your product to market. Be sure to consider the following criteria for you time-to-market needs:
- Will your robotics company be able to meet the demand and have the capacity to supply the number of robots you need to meet your forecast?
Robotics Company Differentiator #4: Support
Will the robotics company you use be able to connect you with local support and warranty repair options across the globe? What if you need a replacement part for your robot – how long will it take to obtain the part and get the robot back to operational status?
Be sure to specify for any location your platform may be, both nationally and internationally.
Robotics Company Differentiator #5: Safety Architecture
When you’re looking at a robotics company, it’s crucial to understand their experience with the type of robotics platforms you need for your project. Make sure to consider the following:
- How many testing hours have gone into their platforms?
- How many testing hours has your assigned team actually spent developing on these platforms?
- Do they have any recent examples of prototypes or products that they have worked on that they can show you?
And, does the robotics company you are interviewing, offer platforms with a proven “Safety Architecture” with redundancy at many different levels across the platform?
Additional safety features and redundancy are capabilities you should be aware of, especially if your project will be used in high-risk environment or situations.
Robotics Company Differentiator #6: Concept Drawings
Before your robot is complete, it’s important to consider if you will need to show executive sponsors and potential investors what it will look like. Ask the robotics company if they are able to get you concept drawings.
- If your executive sponsors and/or investors need to know what your robot looks like, can the robotics company get drawings for you?
These concept drawings are the first step to a physical prototype, and are useful not only to show potential investors what the platform or completed project will look like, but also can help with many design spec details. Seeing a clear visual representation brings the project to life past the conceptual phase, and allows you to better communicate with the robotics engineers on expectations.
If you would like more information on how our team handles new robotics projects, please contact us. We would be happy to send you a full project questionnaire to see if we are a good fit for your project goals.