Innovating Manufacturing: Lean Robotics and Efficient Robot Deployment


Charles R. Goulding reviews a new book on lean robotics, where 3D printing can take a lead role.

I had the opportunity to read “Lean Robotics” by Samuel Bouchard. Bouchard is the CEO and co-founder of Robotiq in Quebec, Canada.

Robotiq offers automation products and services like robot grippers, vision systems, and sensors. Dover Corporation has recently reported the sale of Destaco, which includes the robot grippers segment we discussed in our Fabbaloo article, to Stabilus SE for US$680 million. Bouchard holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He describes his book as a guide to integrating robots into your factory.

In my opinion, the book delivers a vital message; a comprehensive and cost-effective analysis of an initial robotics capital expenditure project will justify the first purchase and then prompt successively more robot procurements.

Bouchard’s comprehensive background and experience empower him to manage every aspect of contemporary robotic project processes in business terminology. Initially, the necessary manual production cell needs to be mapped out. Following this, the prospective robot cell requires structure. Then comes the comparison of both processes. Bouchard offers insight into each team member’s traditional role in these processes. Consistent open communication about the project’s aims and developments is crucial in providing accurate information and managing objectors.

In my opinion, this book excels in its discussion on lean robotic incorporation into the manufacturing process. As those experienced with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software projects might be aware, these initiatives often fall apart during the integration phase because the organization is not fully ready to commit to and implement the project.

3D printed robotic arm [Source: bcn3d]

3D Printing and Lean Robotics

For 3D printing to reach its real potential it must be part of the digitization and automation process from design to production.  Robots are a key element in the automation process. Robot integration remains at embryonic levels in today’s manufacturing environment.  With Lean Robotics, Bouchard provides the mechanism for much wider robot acceptance and integration. 

The Research & Development Tax Credit

The now permanent Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit is available for companies developing new or improved products, processes and/or software.

3D printing can help boost a company’s R&D Tax Credits. Wages for technical employees creating, testing and revising 3D printed prototypes can be included as a percentage of eligible time spent for the R&D Tax Credit. Similarly, when used as a method of improving a process, time spent integrating 3D printing hardware and software counts as an eligible activity. Lastly, when used for modeling and preproduction, the costs of filaments consumed during the development process may also be recovered.

Whether it is used for creating and testing prototypes or for final production, 3D printing is a great indicator that R&D Credit eligible activities are taking place. Companies implementing this technology at any point should consider taking advantage of R&D Tax Credits.


Bouchard’s book is a must-read for any company considering its first robot project. With his technical background and extensive experience, this book practically gives step-by-step guidance on how to execute a successful robot automation project.

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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