On the Front Lines of EV Manufacturing Automation
PARI Robotics Inc. offers turnkey robotics and manufacturing solutions to its customers all over the world. Its North American Headquarters are in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and with locations worldwide, PARI specializes in manufacturing automation systems, including electric vehicle assembly systems for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). PARI is among one of the leading companies to be closely involved in the growing electric vehicle manufacturing solutions space. PARI also offers cutting edge IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) solutions compliant to the Industry 4.0 paradigm that help manufacturers drive operational efficiency, productivity, asset availability and reliability.
While many competitors focus on a specific core process, PARI’s end-to-end automation solutions provide a single point of contact for businesses who want one company to handle their projects from start to finish. Because of its vertically integrated business model it is able to provide a variety of services and solutions in-house, and has the capability to take on projects of varying scale and complexity.
PARI Robotics is known globally for its spirit of partnership, and works in collaboration with its customers to develop innovative and investment0efficient solutions. Awards that PARI has won include an investment efficiency award from Ford Motor Company for a battery assembly system design and the Mayor’s Business Council Award. In fact, in 2018, PARI was named the Champion Business of the Year by the City of Rochester Hills, Michigan.
This year, the company is continuing to satisfy clients with its industry-leading solutions. It was granted a large electric battery assembly project by a major automotive corporation which would like to incorporate EV technology for its first BEV (battery electric vehicle). This project involves the complete design and development of an assembly line that builds the battery packs for these BEVs that will be utilized on all electric vehicles. Rophin Paul, Executive Vice President and Member of the Management Board at PARI, informs us that PARI’s unique engineering solutions and experience will provide the customer with the distinctive advantage to be efficient and effective on all deliverables.
“It’s very unique as it involves a variety of automation technologies and a lot of testing, which includes safety as a critical aspect while handling batteries. Note that these batteries have the energy to move a large vehicle typically having a weight of at least 3000 pounds. Handling these parts while they are being built has uniquely varied constraints and considerations of safety – over and above that which is typically encountered in manufacturing a typical powertrain assembly,” he describes.
As experts in powertrain solutions, PARI is able to build assembly systems that facilitate build engines, transmissions, axles – pretty much everything related to the vehicle powertrain. In some ways, Paul says that building a battery is similar to other assembly systems, but it does present the need to handle multiple components and processes that are diverse in nature thereby requiring the utilization of a variety of automation technologies.
“Automation is used for two reasons,” he explains: “when you have higher production volume, or when you need higher quality, sustainable quality, and safety. The big difference between building 10,000 electric cars a year and building 300,000 to 500,000 of them is that you need these automated lines where sustained throughput and safety come into play.”
In the last few years in the auto industry, manufacturers have been building assembly systems for the EV market with relatively low product volume. The market is slowly but steadily growing as auto manufacturers start to build smaller quantities of vehicles to test the market. Since the early 2010s, the market has been moving from standard Internal Combustion Engines to electric platforms, and more and more automotive companies are investing in assembly lines that can build electric powertrains and final assemblies. Many of them have turned to PARI as their trusted partner in this time of transition.
Another interesting project PARI recently deployed is a hybrid battery assembly system for a prominent automaker. Hybrid batteries are generally smaller than batteries for the all-electric BEVs, as they work along with a conventional engine, which is used to charge the hybrid battery system. This helps achieve higher fuel efficiencies and reduces fuel costs for the consumer. PARI Robotics was recognized by the customer for its exceptional flexible design of the system that enables multivariant manufacturing with no tooling changes.
“In today’s market, most automotive manufacturers are looking at assembly lines that can be utilized to produce various models so they can have flexibility,” Paul remarks. “For example, if you’re building an assembly line for an SUV, is it also able to build a truck on the same line? Depending on the varying market demands, you can keep running more of a particular vehicle model on it instead of building more and more dedicated lines.”
The EV market is no different. With every investment that the auto industry makes toward EV technology, manufacturers continue to look for flexibility.
“If we design a line to build hybrid batteries, the customer would want us to ensure that the system is capable to multiple variants of hybrid batteries on the same line – and some of them can be pretty dissimilar. PARI has some unique designs and engineering solutions that enable the customer to accommodate this product mix,” Paul adds.
Indeed, PARI has unique solutions for automation and assembly systems. Moreover, it has developed its own niche in building systems for the Electric Powertain like batteries, rotors, stators, E-transaxles, and more, and is having good success with its customer base in North America and Europe for these components. On an annual basis, PARI Robotics has been growing in North America by approximately 50 percent over the last decade.
Mr. Paul believes that one of the reasons PARI has achieved such consistent growth is due to its core values of Smart Work, Excellence, Passion for Growth, and Spirit of Partnership that enable it to pursue an exciting and emerging market. “We believe we have a very untapped market in terms of the range of products we supply and the resources we provide. PARI has a 1000-plus global team and with these large resource pools – especially in design engineering, software, controls, deployment for these assembly lines – we are able to offer a lot more scalability than our competition. PARI also adds about 100 new engineers to its apprentice program annually to help sustain its growth.”
The growing, global team, with offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, seeks people with talent in mechatronics: the interdisciplinary area of mechanical, electrical, and controls engineering. At the management level, it seeks those with its shared youthful spirit of partnership and growth. Though its Automotive headquarters is in the U.S., PARI (Precision Automation & Robotics India) was founded in 1990 in Pune, India, and its average employee isn’t much older than the company itself.
“The average age at our company is 34,” shares Paul. “We are a very young company with a lot of passion and zeal for taking things to the next level, and this is at all ranks of the company. We continue the engine of growth and look at various avenues. For example, we not only build automation and assembly systems, but we also design and build automated storage and retrieval systems and automated car parking systems. These are some of the avenues where we see diverse opportunities that can help augment our growth strategy.”
There are multiple ways that PARI Robotics reaches out to new customers and expands its business. One is the conventional method of outreach through global sales teams who reach out to major OEMs. Another is through exhibitions and tradeshows that reveal PARI Robotics’ expert capabilities. The team typically attends the IMTS show in Chicago, Hannover Messe industrial trade fair in Germany, the Automate Show in Chicago, and a handful of others. Of course, like all businesses that offer valuable expertise, the award-winning company also grows through referrals.
PARI Robotics is excited about being on the forefront of the EV manufacturing automation business and being active in a large amount of that global market share. PARI invests in honing its specialty of building lines for EV batteries, motors, rotor, stators and building systems for the Final Electric Vehicle Assembly for its customer base.
“This is a very new domain, but with our experience in powertrain, we have been early starters in this space and already have a couple of successful projects under our belt. We look forward to pushing aggressively in this space to deploy solutions on a global scale,” says Paul.