Sepro America turns 10
The American daughter company of France-based robots and automation maker Sepro Group now accounts for approximately one-quarter of the company’s total global sales.
Robots and automation maker Sepro America, the U.S. division of France-based Sepro Group, celebrated its first decade in business this summer.
As it turns 10, the firm – which is headquartered in the Pittsburgh suburb of Warrendale, Pa. – now accounts for approximately one-quarter of Sepro Group’s global sales.
Sepro’s history in the U.S. actually dates back much further than 2007. “In August 2007, Sepro robots were already well established in North America – thanks to an 18-year sales and distribution relationship with auxiliary equipment supplier Conair, Sepro ranked first in market share in the automotive industry and for large injection molding machines,” said Sepro Group managing director Jean-Michel Renaudeau. “However, to develop an even stronger position, we decided to form a joint venture, with each of the two companies holding a 50 per cent share.”
Under terms of the deal, all of Conair’s automation sales, engineering, and service employees transitioned to Sepro America. These included Jim Healy, who became Sepro America’s vice president of sales and marketing; and Bill Geddis, vice president of sales and automation.
Fifteen months later, buoyed by what he called “strong sales”, Renaudeau decided to buy out the other half of the joint venture and make Sepro America a wholly-owned daughter company, serving the U.S. and Canada. The deal was finalized in November 2008.
“Between 2008 and 2010, despite the deepest recession in modern U.S. history, the new Sepro America sales team doubled its North American market share for large robots,” Renaudeau said. “Then, following the introduction of two new 3-axis servo robot lines and the Visual control platform, Sepro America doubled the region’s sales between 2011 and 2013. For the first time, results from the U.S. market surpassed those of France, Germany, and other countries to the top rank among Sepro Group’s global markets.”
The need to add personnel and expanded sales, service, training, and application development facilities led Sepro America to relocate in late 2013 from its original headquarters in Emsworth, Pa. to its current 16,500-square-foot building in Warrendale. “And in late 2016, Sepro Group announced an 11 million euro global expansion that will include doubling the size of the Warrendale facility and the addition of large-robot assembly capabilities,” Renaudeau said.
“Our primary goal is to optimize delivery to North American customers, but the critical factor in our operations is quality control,” Jim Healy said. “The Warrendale facility is already our North American hub for systems integration and for designing and building complex, integrated automation cells. So, assembling the robots themselves is a logical next step. Initially, we’ll focus on Sepro’s new large robots for delivery to customers in the U.S., Canada and possibly Mexico.” Sepro America will source beams and some other components locally, Healy added, while the more technical components will continue to be manufactured at the Sepro Group factory in France.
Originally tasked with supplying the Canadian market, Sepro America eventually relinquished that role to Sepro Canada, a Canadian daughter company of Sepro Group founded in Montreal in January 2016.