Lectra evaluating cobots to help production

Lectra evaluating cobots to help production

Technology solutions supplier for fabrics, leather, technical textiles and composite materials, Lectra says it is evaluating the use of 'cobots' to aid its final assembly process.

Lectra - which supplies fabrics and leather cutting machines to numerous global Tier 1s for seating and interiors as well as airbags - is not a manufacturer but a final assembler in its home city of Bordeaux.

Around 80% of the world's airbags are manufactured using Lectra machines - some of which are so vast they have to be shipped in modular form to be reassembled at the T1's desired location - with the supplier producing around 400 cutters per year.

"We are thinking about Cobots, which is a collaborative robot," said Lectra director manufacturing, hardware and industrial solutions, Laurence Jacquot at the supplier's Cestas factory employing around 1,500 staff.

"It does not replace a human, but it helps the human not to make a mistake. Our aeronautical [sector] is very advanced in this."

The Lectra manufacturing director added the vast majority of its suppliers were France-based, echoing earlier comments describing how the company has adopted a localised content to its processes having stripped out significant costs to avoid having to move to emerging markets such as China.

"[Some] 80% of our suppliers are French and 35% of them are local suppliers," said Jacquot. "This is due to the fact there is a lot of interactivity with our purchasing and suppliers."

"Our industrial strategy is we do not manufacture, we make final assembly. We supply equipment not products. We export through Le Havre or Marseille - we have big machines and for this we have exceptional transport [very large lorries].