Had the pleasure to present Tradiebot Industries at Swinburne University of Technology to the German team from Siemens, Volkmar Döricht and Dominik Rohrmus. An opportunity to promote Aussie innovation and the collaboration between the partners. Special thanks to Bronwyn Fox and Mats Isaksson for organising the event. Daria CecchiniJason MillerInnovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC)
At the WFCP conference in Melbourne with WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd MAICD and Maxine Merle who will represent Australia at the WorldSkills International Championships in Russia next year. A great night with over 500 delegates from around the world focusing on Skills and Training. Tradiebot Industries showcasing some of our vr and ar solutions.
Tradiebot Industries has set out to transform the automotive repair industry through robotics and digitisation. Tara Hamid looks at the company’s journey so far and the lessons for other industries.
Tradiebot founder, Mario Dimovski, tries out the latest in smart glasses during his visit to Trumpf Smart Factory in the US.
The future smash repair workshops could look very different from what we have grown accustomed to, thanks to the robotic
platforms being developed by Tradiebot Industries for vehicle collision repair.
The automotive repair industry, like many other sectors, is struggling with a shortage of skilled workforce, both in Australia and globally.
The Department of Jobs and Small Business’s employment projections to 2022 show that for the vehicle spray painting alone, as many as 3,243 vacancies will be created in the coming years. Meanwhile, PwC’s Industry Forecast in May 2017 reported that workforce shortages in the vehicle body repair and refinishing sectors are likely to persist over the medium to long- term.
The skills shortage is not limited to Australia. IBIS Global Report 2018 shows that around the world, there is a growing shortage of qualified technicians in the auto body repair industry.
Mario Dimovski, an automotive-based business owner with more than 25 years’ experience in the auto repair sector, decided to seek the answer in robotics and digital tools. Thus was born Tradiebot Industries, or Tradiebot for short.
Dimovski founded Tradiebot in 2017 to develop solutions that can transform the automotive repair industry with the help of new technologies, such as robotics, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
“We are not really re-inventing anything. We are simply fast following what other industries are doing,” Dimovski told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
Dimovski sees automation not as a means to replace human with robots, but as a way to address the current shortage of workers in his sector, as well as a way to attract millennials.
“We are creating multiple layers of value with Tradiebot: we are filling a void in our industry, we are helping solve the problems faced in the sector, and we are up-skilling the current industry, which hopefully then will make it more attractive for the younger generation by creating new digital career opportunities and skills.
“By automating the panel-repair process, we shorten the repair process and the time required to train people to carry out the tasks. This also helps to attract the young generation to the sector, because they will now have the opportunity to work with robots and manage automated systems, rather than doing so much hands-on tasks, which is so much more attractive as a career choice,” Dimovski said.
Working with OEMs
Dimovski believes that collaboration is the strongest aspect of Tradie- bot. He is currently working on a number of parallel projects with universities and partner industries, including PPG Industries, AMA/ Gemini Group and Capital SMART, to better develop smart solutions for automotive repair.
Tradiebot is also planning to work closely with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to establish a digital catalogue comprising of computer-aided design (CAD) files for vehicle panels and parts, to guide the company’s automated repair systems or for additive manufacturing purposes – such as on-demand 3D printing of auto parts.
Dimovski says a big challenge for him is to change the mind-set of some OEMs to convince them about the industry’s shift towards digitalisation and the collaborative opportunities that will ultimately benefit the repair shops.
“Our research shows that the repair processes on the shop floor can be reduced by up to 50 per cent through the use of digital tools and providing the technician with up- to-date repair criteria. The digital parts’ database will also create new revenue streams as the digital files can be sold via certified OEM partners,” he said.
A collaborative project between Tradiebot and Swinburne University – called Repair Bot – looks into using 3D printing technologies and robotics along with novel plastic materials to enable an automated rapid repair service for plastic car parts.
The project is co-funded by the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) and Tradiebot has partnered with leading automotive collision repairer AMA/Gemini Group to collaborate and validate the processes.
“Working with leading names in the repair industry, including PPG Capital SMART and AMA/Gemini Group helps us understand the current needs and to develop our solutions around the real problems that the industry is facing,” Dimovski said.
Another project, co-funded by Tradiebot and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) and supported by the University of New South Wales’ ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC), focuses on digitalising the process of repairing damaged vehicle panels.
The project – called Prep Bot – is focused on developing an integrated solution that uses sensors, 3D scanners and image processing tools to develop virtual models of vehicle panels. These help assess the extent of the damage and then uses a robot control system that can conduct physical repairs, including sanding, painting and polishing.
Apart from providing an internal solution for the automotive repair sector, Dimovski believes the project could also lead to creating new manufacturing jobs in Australia as the technology sets to disrupt the global automotive industry. Upon successful validation of the project, Tradiebot plans to export the technology through PPG as its global value chain partner.
“We are currently developing the algorithms and the cloud-based systems using artificial intelligence and various other data. Those will be driven by hardware, which includes the scanners and robots and systems that we need to put together. So there’ll be a large proportion of manufacturing involved on our projects, be it assembling existing parts, or manufacturing them from scratch,” he said.
Dimovski’s message to business owners and the industry is to embrace the digital transformation and not be afraid of it.
“We have all of the tools available to transform the auto repair industry. We have some of the most talented skills in our universities and these technologies are already being applied in other sectors,” he said.
Tradiebot is in the process of developing an Industry 4.0 course, in collaboration with one of the leading Australian universities. Dimovski said the company intends to prepare people involved in the auto repair sector to embrace the new technologies and attract a new generation of digital technicians.
“The aim of the course is to educate the whole industry, from the technicians working on the shop floor to the business owners, to understand what’s available and what each technology does. Because they are the ones that will ultimately be using it and they can hopefully give us feedback to either develop more solutions or tweak the existing ones,” he said.
To attract the new generation to the auto repair industry, Tradiebot is also involved in a collaborative research project with Deakin University that explores the use of virtual and augmented reality technologies to develop a new Industry 4.0 training and digital planning system for the automotive collision repair and service industry. A version of the VR simulator, which trains the users in auto body painting, has already received great interest from schools and educators.
Dimovski said Tradiebot plans to offer the simulation software as a downloadable version, so the schools can use it for their students that he hopes will create interest in the profession.
Dimovski is a strong believer in keeping his business open to new ideas and collaboration opportunities.
“At Tradiebot, our strongest aspect is that we collaborate. We share and we are open. Many people ask us: why do you disclose so much? But that’s our motto. We have no problem saying this is what we are doing, because by sharing it, we also invite people to come forward and make new propositions.
“So far, it has worked to our favour. We are getting a lot of interest from all over the world and have some of the industry-leading companies as close collaborators and partners that we aim to work closely and transform the collision industry as we know it in the near future.
“Another exciting part about being transparent about our developments is the amount of interest we are receiving from other industries outside automotive,” Dimovski said.
Defence is one industry where Dimovski has already started the talks. “Defence is a sector we have been moving towards and exploring in recent times as we align our solutions with their needs. We have identified many similarities in what our solutions offer around automotive that fit the defence industry needs.
“Conversations have started with leading Australian companies in this space on how Tradiebot can offer
its services and technologies, with the assistance of AMGC, helping connect companies together,” he added.
Always a pleasure catching up with Mark Czvitkovits, exploring developing technologies to be used for future training through the I-CAR network in the collision industry. #innovation#training#automotive
Our European Expansion is under way with the launch of our Innovation and Support centre in Macedonia. What an exciting development for all involved, congratulations to the other founding directors Prof. Nikola Rendevski and Prof. Aleksandar Markoski and thank you for all your hard work to make this venture possible.
Tradiebot got invited to spend the day at Land Force 2018 in Adelaide with the AMGC team meeting a number of defence companies interested in our developing solutions around Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies. Some exciting opportunists to be explored. Watch this space.
Mario Dimovski had the pleasure of attending the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) Japanese Innovation Dinner as one of the key speakers. A great event to connect with some of the countries most influential Japanese business minds and explore new opportunities. Thank you Roland Stephens and Evan Read for having me. #austrade#business#partnerships#japan#tradiebot
Australia’s largest automotive collision repair network AMA / Gemini Group has thrown its considerable weight behind Industry 4.0 innovator Tradiebot Industries’ Repair-Bot project being developed in conjunction with Swinburne University.
With backing from the Australian Government’s Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), the stage one, $1.2 million collaborative Repair-bot project is making use of 3D printing technologies and robotics along with novel materials to enable automated rapid repair service for plastic car parts.
Welcoming the new partnership, Tradiebot Industries Founder Mario Dimovski said, “Commitment from leading industry players such as the AMA / Gemini Group is a positive indication we are on track in solving current obstacle in the automotive collision repair industry around the repairs of plastic components.”
“We look forward to building our relationship with the AMA / Gemini Group as we work together towards developing new technologies, skills, materials and complex automated collision repair systems.” Mr Dimovski said.
Dave Calder, Corporate General Manager, AMA / Gemini Group,
“With advances in vehicle technology, parts costs rising and skills availability ever challenging, we are constantly looking at ways to advance the industry, refine our operation and continually deliver on our ability to provide value to our clients and customers.”
“Innovation is core to our business and we are delighted to be collaborating with the leaders in this space, Tradiebot Industries and Swinburne University. The research and development of augmented repair processing, 3D printing, robotics and the advancement in industry 4.0 technologies is a perfect fit and positive outputs of our collaboration will generate immense value to the automotive repair industry.”
Dr Mats Isaksson – Swinburne University of Technology
“The Swinburne research team is excited to welcome AMA / Gemini as a collaborator on the Repair-bot project with Tradiebot Industries. My team and I look forward to the added industry expertise that David Calder and his team will offer.”
This sector is highly concentrated and ferociously competitive, so a solution like the Repair-bot has the potential to be truly transformational, using Industry 4.0 technologies to reduce material wastage, ease the pain of ever more complex and restrictive design elements, and take on routine tasks in an increasingly tight skilled labour market.”
As well as improving procedures in the automotive repair industry, the collaboration is a further sign that the $7 billion Australian industry has started down the path of digital transformation, with technologies that have the potential to lead the world.
The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) is supporting a collaborative project with Tradiebot Industries to deliver the world’s first automated vehicle panel repair system.
As part of the project, Tradiebot Industries will collaborate with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC) on developing a robotic control system to carry out physical repairs on damaged vehicle panels.
Tradiebot’s chief creator, Mario Dimovski said the project seeks to achieve a shift from manual production jobs, towards a more customised, smart and competitive manufacturing model, backed by high skilled workers.
According to Dimovski, the project addresses a current skills gap in the vehicle collision repair industry.
“The collision repair sector is currently facing shortage of skilled workforce. By automating the panel repair process, we shorten the length of time required to train people to carry out the tasks. This also helps to attract the young generation to the sector, as they will need to control robots rather than doing hands-on tasks,” Dimovski told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
The AMGC is providing $197,000 in co-funding for the first stage of the project, which is matched by equivalent funding from Tradiebot Industries. Further investments will follow as the project achieves set milestones.
Apart from providing an internal solution for the automotive repair sector, Dimovski said the project also opens the path for creating new manufacturing jobs in Australia as the technology sets to disrupt the global automotive industry.
Successful completion of the project will allow Tradiebot to create new revenue streams by leasing or selling digital assets and robotic systems to vehicle repairers.
Tradiebot has partnered with the global automotive coating giant, PPG Industries, on developing and later distributing the robotic solution through its global customer base.
Kevin Woolerton, marketing director, PPG Industries Australia, said PPG is happy to work with Tradiebot on leading innovations within the automotive repair sector.
“We are interested in the innovations within the industry and leading that innovation with Tradiebot. The repair processes have evolved considerably over the years. Using a robotic arm to do the physical repairs such as the sanding process can help avoid the occasional flaws that occur as a result of the human factor,” Woolerton told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
AMGC state director, Michael Sharpe said the project is a good example of how collaboration can help Australia advance forward.
“Tradiebot is setting an example of how we can advance Australia further – helping to upskill the next generation as well as generating jobs for today.
“Also, the fact that Tradiebot is collaborating with a global company such as PPG is instrumental in creating export opportunities. The AMGC research clearly shows that as more Australian companies look at export opportunities, it positively affects the nation,” Sharpe said.
The project is the first collaboration between AMGC and the AMAC centre. Dr Jayantha Katupitiya, head of Mechatronic Engineering at UNSW, will be the leading academic working on the project.
The two core activities involved in the project include digitalising the process of repairing damaged vehicle panels by developing virtual models of vehicle panels, as well as developing a robot control system that can conduct these physical repairs, including sanding, painting and polishing.
The participants will also collaborate to integrate data from various devices into a unique Internet of Things (IoT) solution for vehicle panel repair.
A successful project outcome is likely to inspire similar solutions in areas beyond vehicle repair, such as commercial cleaning, painting and washing. Participating companies will also enhance their skills base by gaining first-hand experience in developing cyber-physical systems.
Showcasing Tradiebot Industries VR Spray Painting Training and Education Simulator Software at the Skills Expo 2018 ACT with over 4000 students passing through. The interest in this exciting solution has been very rewarding with lines of kids waiting to have a go at spray painting over the 2 days. A special visit by the local Education minister Natalie Howson who enjoyed the display and new opportunities school kids will have to explore career pathways in the collision industry via these new technologies. #education #training #spraypaint #newskills #collisionrepairs #automotive #training