In 2018 Eckhart experienced another year of solid growth across all facets of our company. Our AUTOCRAFT™ autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), FLEXCHECK™ collaborative robots, 3D printing, and core ergonomic lift assist & secure tooling solutions all realized higher year-over-year sales. During the year, our geographic footprint expanded significantly as did our industry leading suite of advanced manufacturing solutions. With the help of technical partners, we continue to accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 based technology in factories all over the world.
To expand our capability and grow our suite of solutions we acquired an electrical controls leader, Logic Plus, serving the pharmaceutical, food & beverage, and electrical power generation industries. To expand our core tooling capability and provide a higher level of service to key customer partners in underserved regions of the Midwest, we acquired Eagle Engineering. Eagle’s manufacturing capability includes a pair of traveling column horizontal boring mills with a 53 foot by 12 foot machining envelope.
In the fall, with technology partner Humatics, we hosted an invitation-only event at our Advanced Technology Center to unveil Humatic’s Spatial Intelligence Platform that enables unprecedented AGV position tracking capability to optimize interactions with people, product, and processes in assembly environments.
In January of this year, we hosted the MIT Leaders for Global Operations program as part of their 2019 Plant Trek; completed the acquisition of two new companies: PRI Robotics located in Plymouth, MN and Gasper Engineering located in North Vernon, IN; and launched a collaborative robot based Automated Taping System with 3M that increases productivity and eliminates ergonomic risks associated with the manual application of labels and tape in industrial environments.
Looking ahead, Eckhart will continue to differentiate itself as an Industry 4.0 leader. We will continue to prioritize partnerships with key customers who value the commitment and capability of our team and we’ll promote investment to accelerate the development of advanced technologies that utilize autonomous guided vehicles, collaborative robots, and 3D printing.
Together, with you our customer, we will engineer advanced industrial solutions that enhance the quality of life on your line.
3M (NYSE:MMM), a global leader in consumer and industrial material sciences, and Eckhart, an Industry 4.0 solutions pioneer, announced the successful launch of the 3M™ Automated Taping System (ATS), a collaborative robot-based automated tape application system jointly developed by both companies for the automotive and industrial market.
The 3M ATS is designed and commercially available for innovative automotive and industrial customers that seek to automate manual processes involving 3M™ Attachment Tapes. The 3M ATS leverages industry standard robotic components and best practices to deliver a flexible, simple, and cost-effective solution. Both 3M and Eckhart believe significant opportunities exist in the automotive and industrial space to use the 3M ATS to apply adhesion promoters, create extended liner tabs, and precisely position cut-to-length tape or die cuts onto components.
In December of 2018, Ford Motor Company unveiled their Advanced Manufacturing Center which showcases Industry 4.0 technology including autonomous guided vehicles, collaborative robots, 3D printing, and virtual & augmented reality simulators. Eckhart employees were invited to be part of the Media Day event and demonstrate the automated material handling cell Eckhart designed, built, and integrated into the facility. The cell utilizes AGVs, automated conveyance, and a collaborative robot to demonstrate how Industry 4.0 technology can optimize employee safety, product quality, and productivity in an advanced manufacturing environment.
On Friday, February 8th Eckhart celebrated the Grand Opening of our Engineering Center in Reed City, MI. Stephanie Adkins and Regan Blissett from Northern Michigan’s 9&10 News were on hand to cover all of the action live. An Industry 4.0 technology showcase of autonomous guided vehicles, collaborative robots, and 3D printing greeted guests. In addition, Reed City employees displayed UL certified panels designed and built for a key customer partner, Reed City Tool Group. Special thanks to Pere Marquette Bistro & Catering for serving a delicious breakfast buffet that brought smiles to everyone’s faces!
Riley Black, daughter of Eckhart employee Brad Black, delivers donated items to area veterans
At Eckhart’s Algonac, MI location operations supervisor Brad Black, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, working in partnership with the St Clair County Department of Veterans Affairs Office, led a companywide clothing drive to help bring warmth and comfort to area veteran shelters during the winter season. Brad and his team of volunteers collected coats, boots, hats, gloves, socks, and other winter apparel then personally delivered the donated items to area veterans. Thanks Brad for your efforts to help our country’s veterans!
On January 10th Eckhart employees from several of our Michigan locations spent the day in Detroit with a group of junior high students volunteering with the Junior Achievement STEMworks program. Our employees worked in stations teaching the students about mass, friction, aerodynamics, design and 3D printing. Using the principles learned at each of the stations, students designed and built race cars using modeling clay. Students then separated into teams and competed against each other to see which team had the fastest race car! The day was a huge success and the students walked away with a better understanding of the many career opportunities in STEM.
About Eckhart, Inc.
With over 60 years of experience and based in Warren, Michigan, Eckhart engineers advanced industrial solutions that enhance the quality of life. Eckhart’s proven portfolio of advanced manufacturing technology includes Autocraft™ autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), collaborative robotic systems, traditional robotics, contract assembly line design & simulation, 3D printing tool development & production, and ergonomic general assembly tooling solutions for the world’s largest manufacturers. Eckhart serves an established and loyal, blue-chip customer base of leading automotive and industrial original equipment manufacturers that include Stryker Medical, General Electric, Tesla, Boeing, General Mills, John Deere, Caterpillar, and Cargill. For additional information, please visit www.eckhartusa.com.