Patti Perspective
February 2016
Can you even imagine where manufacturing would be today without robotics?  This month, we've thought about our last twenty-five years working in the industry with FANUC robotics.  The industry has made huge advances, and we're proud to have worked with this industry titan for so long.  We're featuring some of our highlights and stories from a quarter century of FANUC projects.

The spotlight this month is on Ashish Phansalkar.  We are so fortunate to have crossed paths with Ashish a few years ago and to have brought him onto our team. 

Patti Engineering's 25 Year History with FANUC Robotics
As Patti Engineering heads into its 25th year in business, we reflect on how grateful we are for our partnership with FANUC Robotics. Robotics and manufacturing look very different today than they did a quarter century ago, and we have FANUC partly to thank for that. Back in 1991, The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an article that today sounds like it was written by Captain Obvious. "And when the factory closes late in the afternoon and the humans switch off the lights and go home, these Fanuc A robots keep right on going until midnight, unsupervised, unerring - perfect," it says.

But that same article includes some interesting statistics. It mentions that there were 256,000 industrial robots in use throughout the world. Compare that to FANUC's announcement in December that they sold 400,000 robots in 2015 alone. We've come a long way, baby.

FANUC was Patti Engineering's first customer, and in fact, the reason why Patti Engineering was started. In 1991, Patti Engineering's CEO Sam Hoff applied to work at FANUC, but due to a hiring freeze, they were only hiring contractors. Sam was so determined to work with them, that he up and started the company just to become a FANUC contractor!  

The technology was much different back then. Savvy engineers will notice that in this 1991 article from the LA Times, it's not just the fashion that's outdated. "[FANUC] has developed a customized robot that can spray abrasive chemicals on factory-fresh blue jeans to give them that fashionable well-worn look... Fading jeans by robot, which can spray the seat and thigh areas of more than 200 pairs per hour, is one of numerous applications..." And while we didn't have the pleasure of working on that project, over the years, Patti Engineers have worked on many other FANUC applications.

For the first four years, FANUC projects made up 80-90% of Patti Engineering's business. Back then, we were working on the old R-H models! (If you weren't around for those, don't even bother looking them up. FANUC has made so many advances since then that the
 R-H models barely even show up on Google anymore!).

Several Patti Employees cut their teeth in the Shreveport GM plant. One of Sam's first projects was working on the paint systems for the S10 pickup trucks. 
Dave Foster, now our VP of Engineering, got his start at Patti Engineering primarily with FANUC projects at both GM Shreveport and Ford Avon Lake for the first two or three years. He was in Avon Lake for such a long stretch he just kept the same rental car and ended up getting the oil changed in it - twice! "It was a white Buick Regal with baby blue interior," he said, shaking his head. It's a good thing he enjoyed working down there!

FANUC projects have taken us all over the world - from Shreveport, Louisiana to Shanghai, China to Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Valcourt, Quebec. Integrating a paint system for Bombardier jet ski engines brought Sam to Valcourt. "Quebec in the winter is the coldest place I have ever been in my life!" Sam said. "And coming from Michigan, that's saying something!"

The majority of the projects over the years have been paint systems in the automotive industry. However, from 1997-2008, we also worked with the Holland, Ohio location which was responsible for general industry. There we branched out to paint systems for other items like file cabinets and fiberglass molds. 
Fast forward 25 years later, and Patti Engineering recently earned a spot as an Authorized Integrator. Four of our current engineers have completed FANUC certified coursework. A few months ago, FANUC introduced a line of collaborative robots, which can work alongside people without the need for safety fences.
Today, whether you're a small or a large manufacturer, FANUC offers traditional and collaborative industrial robots for almost any application with payloads ranging from .5kg to 1350kg. Patti Engineering is ready, as always, to analyze your system requirements and provide a robotic solution that will improve quality, throughput, and productivity to give you the return on investment you are looking for.

For help with your next robotics integration project,

Patti Personnel Spotlight: Ashish Phansalkar

We met Ashish on a project in 2013. Ashish had done the offline work at Inductoheat's sister company in India. Ryan Hibbert, one of our engineers, was working alongside him to do the onsite machine commissioning. Ryan recognized Ashish's skill and hands-on experience with Siemens and Mitsubishi PLCs and HMIs. He soon spoke with the Patti management team to recommend we hire him. As it turned out, Ashish had been hoping to move to the US.

"Ashish has been amazing with how quickly he adapted to working within the Patti culture and executing projects for us at a top notch level," said Dave Foster, Vice President of Engineering. "We were very fortunate to have crossed paths with him and to get him on the Patti team."

Ashish has worked on several Siemens and Mitsubishi controls projects since he started. Many of his projects have been Mitsubishi motion control applications for induction heating applications and load testing applications. He has also worked on vertical and horizontal induction scanning machines, robotic laser marking stations, RFID upgrades, and Siemens S5 upgrades.

Ashish completed a Diploma in Industrial Electronics from Satara Polytechnic (which is similar to American high school, but students specialize sooner) in 2005. He earned his Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics & Telecommunication from Pune Institute of Computer Technology, affiliated with Pune University India - ranked 3rd in the country! - in 2008.

Ashish is originally from the city of Satara, Maharashtra in western India. He moved to the U.S. in December 2014 when he started working for Patti Engineering. His family still lives in India. "My mother and elder sister both live in India," Ashish says. "My mother takes care of my sister as she is mentally disabled. I help them financially and take care of their living cost. My father passed away very soon after my graduation in 2008."

When he's not at work, Ashish likes to go out on bike or by car to see and visit different places. "I like photography, capturing sunrise, sunsets, birds and trees. I like sky gazing and I follow different astronomical events. Recently, I enjoyed the Blood Moon in September 2015 and took many photos," he says. "I also like reading books on Indian military history and autobiographies of distinguished officers, as many of my relatives have served in the Indian Army."

"The challenging environment and support of management and co-workers make it very good place to work," Ashish says. "Also with every new opportunity, I get chance to work on something that I have never touched in the past. This really helps in my professional and personal growth. The company's commitment to offering its customers quality engineering solutions makes Patti Engineering the best place to work."

We work as partners with our clients. When you need an expert to help solve automation challenges, we are here to add value to your solution - enhance efficiency, increase productivity, and work with your team as a trusted resource. Visit our website for more information on our areas of expertise, or call us (248)364-3200 for a free initial consultation.

Thank you for your interest in Patti Engineering.

Best regards,

Georgia H. Whalen
Director of Marketing
Patti Engineering

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