Gerry Horan and Hongtu Du at t he partnership announcement in Drangan.
A Tipperary company plans to create up to thirty new jobs following a partnership with a major Chinese firm.
The link up between Horan Automation and Consulting, a robotics and automation company based in Drangan, and Chinese firm Boxline is targeted at the European market.
Senior management from the Chinese side visited the Drangan site today (Friday) where the announcement was made.
Horan Automation founder Gerry Horan described it as major development for his company and he predicted a bright future for the new partnership.
He said it was hoped to generate twenty to thirty jobs in automation engineering and sales and marketing over the next three years and all those jobs would be based at the Tipperary plant.
Boxline boss Hongtu Du said his firm was delighted to link up with Horan Automation and he looked forward to a successful future for the new operation.
The tie-in with Boxline will help open the huge European market to Horan Automation. The firm is now an Enterprise Ireland client and this opens doors to new markets across the continent.
Boxline China enters into the partnership as a strong player turning over €127 million in robot sales per annum with 200 manufacturing staff.
Among those present for the announcement in Drangan were representatives of the Chinese Embassy who welcomed the new initiative.
Gerry Horan told the audience that the future for industry is in robotics and automation because as a result of falling populations, there won't be enough workers to make the things that people need.
Horan automation was first established by Gerry and Kathleen Horan and quickly grew into an automation company specialising in bespoke robotic applications and end of line automation. The company is well known in Irish industry circles servicing mainly the pharmaceutical and food/beverage markets.
In 2017, Horan Automation enjoyed a period of huge growth and change mainly resulting from its recognition of the need for sales and marketing. The business began to re-structure and focus on making savings throughout the production process.
Emma Lacy, Chief Operations Officer comments - “In 2017 we took a strategic look at the business, from the sales stage to design, manufacturing, installation, integration and right through to service. We found that lots of positive changes could be made to improve the way we did things and pass a saving on to our customers. However, we always remained focused on one thing, maintaining the high quality that our machines are known for.
“At this stage we decided to audit our suppliers and chose to partner with Boxline China. This company was attractive to us because it is an integrator of high quality Kuka robots as we are, and their machines are to a very high standard. We also found that we complemented their sales process and they complemented ours. From the beginnings of a supplier and customer relationship therefore blossomed a great export opportunity.”
After recognising a great partnership opportunity, Horan Automation approached Enterprise Ireland who was delighted to support this Joint Venture business. Enterprise Ireland awarded Horan Automation with an innovation grant which then allowed them to research the European markets that had a demand for high quality robotic cells at a competitive price.
MD Gerry Horan explained why he feels a Joint Venture is necessary to move forward. “We are delighted that our business in Ireland is booming but we see huge potential in the European market. We are being naturally approached often to supply into Europe but up to now we haven’t had the resources necessary. With the support of Boxline China and Enterprise Ireland, our own staff skills and knowledge and our proximity to Europe all the pieces of the jigsaw are in place for us to progress forward. The robotics and automation market demand is predicted to explode and we are now in a position to meet this demand.”
The new company, Boxline Europe, has already begun trading in Europe.