Aripix Robotics: how to create a robotic arm in a month and do business on inventive tasks

The first steps to the future business: designers and garbage trucks

There is a stereotype that scientists and inventors in

In childhood, they are often quiet and shy, silent and calm, but always very observant.It was such a modest, homely boy that Andrei Spiridonov was.At the same time, he paid attention to the smallest details, especially when it came to technology.

On the streets of his native Izhevsk, Andrei recalls, hisattracted powerful trucks and excavators. When a garbage truck appeared in the yard and with its iron claws it lifted the garbage tank up, it was impossible to tear the boy away from this spectacle. But on the street, Andrew appeared less frequently than his peers. He preferred to sit at home, most of the time collecting cars from designers.

Photo: Vlad Shatilo / "Hightech"

The family noticed that Andreiis interested in technology. And his grandfather, at that time one of the leaders of KamAZ in Naberezhnye Chelny, decided that his grandson needed to visit a real automobile enterprise. Perhaps it was this acquaintance with the life of the plant, filled with dynamism and well-coordinated work of all the participants, Spiridon noticed, he was inspired in his soul an interest in the technical direction in production.

Opt for a dream

Admission to the Institute determined the whole furtherprofessional way of Andrew. In 2004, he went to Moscow, where he entered the first course of the faculty of radio electronics and laser technology at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. Already in the second year a talented student is hired at a laboratory at the university department. Andrei’s responsibilities include testing of transmitters, working with electronic circuits and programming.

Soon the young man had a problemchoice - to continue working in the laboratory or to develop further and learn new levels of technical activity. It was not easy to decide on the final care - I didn’t want to spoil relations with the teacher, who ran the laboratory and at the same time lectured at the faculty. At that moment, it was important for Andrei, as he himself now notes, to cope with his natural indecision and prove to himself that he is capable of active changes in life, the discovery of new opportunities. And he managed to take the plunge.

The third year student at Moscow University becomesemployee of the Moscow Central Research Institute "Cyclone". Fellow students who also worked there invited him to the organization. At that time, Andrew already had the experience of developing and programming electronic boards, obtained at the department. “I was interviewed by the head of the electronics design department and was included in the team that created the electronics for night vision devices,” recalls Andrey.

It is in “Cyclone” that understanding comes to Andrewthe fact that the equipment must be useful in production. It is necessary to create such know-how that would help solve production problems. Andrei realizes that the human factor can have a negative impact on the quality of production. To thinking about this topic, he was pushed by a case that happened to the head of the Cyclone. He mistakenly ordered the wrong printed circuit boards, all production had to stand idle for two weeks without these components.

In the "Cyclone" Spiridonov worked for about a year. The story of idleness pushed him to “not continue to be an employee”, but to go and develop into a business. But before Andrew again there is a choice - to stay in the "Cyclone" or start working in existing companies working with mobile technologies. Spiridonov works at Nokia Siemens Networks as an engineer and for 3.5 years has been developing cellular communications networks (building new ones, developing existing ones, changing configurations from 3G to LTE, building data processing centers). Gaining experience, goes to Huawei Technologies project manager. In this company, Andrei 3,5 years manages large projects for the deployment of networks (designed and managed the construction of networks in the scale of the Russian Federation). Responsibilities included controlling financial KPI projects, protecting budgets, planning and controlling the construction of a 3G, LTE cellular network conducted by subcontractors, interacting with customers (VimpelCom, MTS, MegaFon), developing and implementing business process optimization tools project. Despite the workload, Andrei continued to search for himself and define his priority goals.

Photo: Vlad Shatilo / "Hightech"

In 2015, Andrei Spiridonov makes a decisiondevote yourself to your own business. Career ladder and opportunities to develop no longer exist. But it became clear that he was waiting further, and this future did not motivate. I wanted to take more responsibility and get more results. He understands that only by working for yourself, you can choose the direction of activity. Andrew is of the opinion that development is exactly where it is scary. In order to achieve something, you need to get out of the comfort zone.

Candles, cocoa beans, mobile

In 2016, Andrei opens a design office.Inventa, having invested 600 thousand rubles in it, is a small amount, because project work to order does not require large investments. “Friends, classmates - I have a lot of familiar engineers in the university, so it was easy to find employees,” says Andrei. The equipment produced by the company differed from the usual standard products that are produced in the Russian market. The work was based on the principle of individual orders. In order to find clients, Andrey made cold calls every day, organized an email-newsletter, looked through information about companies on the Internet.

One of its first clients is a companythe production of chocolate KADZAMA - Andrew found while watching ads on Internet resources. He drew attention to the fact that this manufacturer of the sweet product is also engaged in the production of technical equipment. Andrei manages to sign an agreement with the company, on the basis of which he manufactures an automatic crusher for cocoa beans. The next contract Spiridonov concludes with the production of scented candles and household goods UCandles. To automate production, the company asked him to make a machine for automatic paraffin filling.

The company Inventa was among the customers of the servicesMts. For her, Spiridonov developed a unique type of GSM antenna. In just two years, about 20 contracts for the manufacture of equipment with mobile telesystems were concluded. Net profit was about 25%, taking into account the cost of purchasing materials and equipment. The profitability of the company was influenced by such a factor as disruption of transactions. A major agreement with the plant "Elektrostal" was broken due to the change of his leadership.

Creation of the first robot

The first steps to the opening of the production of industrialrobots were made in 2017, when Spiridonov began to fulfill an order for the Khrapunovsky tool factory. It was necessary to develop an “automatic stacker for machine tools” - this was the task for the Aripix A1 robotic arm. The advance 300 thousand rubles allocated by the enterprise, own investments in the amount of 400 thousand, weeks spent in the laboratory of the youth center “Academy” - and as a result a month later the first prototype of the robot was created. And the robot was created almost from scrap materials. Andrew recalls that he pulled the motors out of several devices, he turned the parts out of plastic. Many blanks remained from the previous developments of his bureau: “Some of the parts were from 3D printers, another was purchased, and a third was made on site on machines. The first tests of the robotic arm were successful. In the “Academy” I quickly (in three or four weeks) tested several robot designs, making prototypes and connecting them to various manipulations: I watched how I coped with the capture and movement of various objects, different shapes, different weights, with different surface structures, as far as stable construction. From the tests it became clear that one construction (the one that is now used in the robot) is very promising, and it can be done in the following prototypes. "

Photo: Vlad Shatilo / "Hightech"

After the first success, Andrew sets himself the goal.create a robot that will be able to compete with foreign counterparts in terms of operating parameters, but at the same time will be available for Russian industrial companies. The payback of equipment up to two years is important for our manufacturers; therefore, plants do not install imported robots (they pay off in three to five years), but continue to use human labor.

“Import robots in our country do not pay off. Taking into account the devaluation of the ruble, the cost of foreign equipment in the Russian Federation is very high. At the level of salaries and cost of implementation on the market, the payback period for robotic systems becomes very large and exceeds five years, ”explains Pavel Belyakov, owner and general director of the Khrapunovsky tool factory. - Count and think for yourself: is it profitable to replace a worker who receives a salary of 40 thousand rubles a month with a robot, which costs 9 million rubles? Planning something more than three years is not optimal, because we have no guarantee that this equipment will be loaded for 24 hours over three years or more.

Automation is available to MIC companies - theresuper high accuracy requirements, and robotization helps to eliminate the influence of the human factor. Perhaps, robotic systems can pay off at hazardous industries, where salaries and risks are high, and equipment works in three shifts 24 hours. But these are exceptions. In general, the entire automation of production in the Russian Federation is not yet pragmatic solutions, but risks taken by manufacturers.

Foreign robotic systems in the Russian Federationthey offer many companies, but by selling robots, they do not provide ready-made solutions for production. The sale of the robotic system is followed by a consulting service - automation of equipment for the robot, for receiving the blank, for submitting it, for shipping the finished product - so that it is a completely autonomous technological process. At the same time, there is no Russian equipment for foreign robots, and the cost of consulting services for the installation of foreign robotic systems is space, the quality of the installation itself does not stand up to criticism in terms of reliability and accuracy. ”

Andrei Spiridonov analyzed samplesManipulators of major foreign manufacturers (KUKA, Fanuc, ABB) and came to the conclusion that they offer robots of one kinematic scheme - an iron mechanical arm. But when lifting heavy parts of her "joints" are experiencing a large load. In order for the robot to be reliable, foreign manufacturers use expensive precision gearboxes in weak places. This greatly increases its value.

Precision Gearboxestransmit rotation from the motor to the robot mechanism,reduce the number of revolutions, but at the same time increase the maximum load on the hand. The motor can make a large number of revolutions, which are converted into a smaller number due to the gearbox. The hand makes a small movement, but moves a load with a large weight - the force of the motor is converted into lifting force.

Kinematic diagram of the iron mechanical armhistorically created for the automotive industry - in the production of dimensional products a large shoulder is justified. But it is redundant for other tasks - in most cases, technologically, production can be organized so that the robot does not reach for the product, but it is conveyed to it by a conveyor or the workpieces are placed near it. In this case, there is no need for a long “multi-articular” arm - thin precise manipulations will be performed by the “brush and fingers” of the robot, and the super-load will disappear, as well as the need to use expensive gearboxes and superstrong materials for its production.

“So we found a solution that allowed us to keepload capacity, accuracy and speed of operations and reduce the cost of the robot, making it accessible to the buyer, "- says Andrey Spiridonov.

In December 2017, the first real robot AripixA1 has been created. The manipulator could perform operations with maximum accuracy. Error indices were 0.3 mm. The weight of transported goods allowed up to 10 kg. The radius of movement is up to 1.5 m. After the pilot project for the Khrapunovsky plant, Andrei Spiridonov decided on the mass production of Aripix A1 and the development of new types of industrial robotics.

We need robots, but ...

Production and installation of robots is not necessarylogically follow each other. Enterprises needed a similar technique. Its installation would help increase the profitability of the production process.

Andrew is still looking for customers.used the method of cold dialing. The likelihood of finding customers in this way was extremely small. Usually the number of successful calls was no more than 10%. At the same time, a smaller percentage of those who made a meeting regarding the presentation of services and equipment concludes a deal. But, despite the statistics, Andrei’s proposal aroused interest among several companies.

In February 2018, Andrew asked for help inaccelerators and incubators. The idea aroused interest, but everyone needed the results of testing equipment under production conditions. “We brought a prototype to KhIZ (Belyakov plant), and he worked there for several days. According to the test results, it was decided that it was necessary to increase the rigidity of the robot and the speed of movements, but on the whole the machine coped with the task and successfully passed the test, ”adds Spiridonov.

Photo: Vlad Shatilo / "Hightech"

Yet orders from large enterprises beganto do. They needed robots to do completely different types of tasks, for example, laying and packing plastic products, laying products on pallets, testing electronic circuit boards and painting products.

Now it is possible to rent an office space inTechnopark Mosgormash, on the basis of which the production workshop soon appeared. Today, the company has a robot development center. In March, Aripix Robotics signed a contract with OOO CPK. The Industrial Cooperation Center will be the contractor for Aripix Robotics for mass production of parts.

"On own, details do contractors - Centerindustrial cooperation. Build and test yourself. Everything is based on Mosgormash - we have an office and a laboratory, and the contractors' workshops are based in the same place, ”adds Andrei.

The staff now employs 15 people -electronic engineers, designers, industrial designers and programmers. Looking for them through acquaintances, former students of the University of N. E. Bauman - neighbors in the hostel. Spiridonov even one of his fellow student shedkhantil. Planned deliveries of robots to plants. Andrey is focused on the monthly increase in the company's revenue by 1 million rubles. By the end of 2019, profits should reach 15-20 million rubles per month.

When people will be replaced by robots

The market segment to which the work is directedAripix Robotics, is a production with the number of employees up to 30 thousand people. The company has all the necessary capabilities for mass production of industrial-type robotics. Their implementation will allow enterprises to reach a new technical level. According to Andrei Spiridonov, robots have undoubted advantages compared to humans. They do not create conflict situations, do not miss work for disrespectful reasons and do not steal.

“Now there are not enough workers, and there are few people in the Russian Federation. All because of the large territory and relatively low fertility. Robots - our chance to effectively master the wealth of the country. In addition, robots create jobs, as enterprises work more efficiently by introducing robots, they start producing more products, and they need personnel for other positions, ”Andrew reflects.

What about security?

About 70 people died at the hands of robots for the wholeindustrial history (from the beginning of the 60s). Security issues in Aripix Robotics are given great attention. The robots are equipped with a system that meets the requirements of the international safety standard for such equipment. When a person approaches, they reduce the speed of work and stop - special motion sensors and emergency stop buttons are installed.

The use of robotics helps to saveenterprise budget. There is no need for payroll, as with the standard scheme of the company. Maintenance of the machine man costs about 1 million rubles a year. The acquired robot worth 2 million rubles pays off within eight months and then begins to bring net income. Spiridonov is confident that the time will come when robots will be able to replace people in industry. And this will positively affect the state of the economy.