SISU is Poised to Disrupt Multiple Industries Using the Latest in Robotic Technology
16 Mar 2021
News, Media, Manufacturing
Ever wonder how crazy ideas become reality? According to Russell Aldridge, SISU CEO, a robotics engineering firm, that is exactly what his firm does every day. The company focuses on changing how long-standing industries perform daily tasks by designing technologies to solve common challenges. Using robot integration and a keen ability to develop new products, crazy ends up being a real game changer for their customers.
Russell goes on to describe how the company got an early start with some unique customers. They were approached by a client who wanted to improve the knife sharpening process, something that has been done the same way for thousands of years. Even with the advent of knife sharpening machines, people still had to determine the type of knife and how it should be sharpened. Russell and his team knew they could find a better way. Their solution was to create a robot who was up to the task. The existing technology had limited understanding and could typically only sharpen one type of knife. SISU’s robot can pick up any knife, recognize it, determine if it is old or new and put a custom grind on it. This technology proved revolutionary for the meat processing industry that sharpens thousands of knives a day.
That’s not the only industry where SISU is providing game-changing technology. The company’s cinematic robots are transforming the film industry because they are easy to program and position on the set, and as a result, the operators can increase production speed and save money.
“Robots have been used in cinema for years, but the problem has been programming them to do what you want. This has been a complicated process that created a significant barrier to entry. SISU has changed everything. We have designed our robots to observe what you do and learn based on movements. Now, someone with no tech experience can program a robot in minutes. Someone can purchase our robot and use it that day,” said Aldridge.
He continued, “Clients have told us that projects which normally took three or four days, now take a single afternoon. For example, DELL uses them to set up shots while wardrobe and art are still being approved.”
Making tech that is easy to use is one reason SISU is poised to disrupt multiple industries, including manufacturing. Manufacturers throughout the country are unable to reach their maximum level of productivity because they lack welders (the American Welding Society predicts that there will be a 400,000 shortfall in welding workers by 2024). SISU’s robotic technology can help.
“A manufacturer brought in two of his welders to test out our robot. Using our mirroring technology, they were able to train our robot to complete tasks in under an hour. He leased the robot on the spot,” said Aldridge.
In all of these industries SISU is proving that it’s time to take a fresh look at how businesses operate. Their technical expertise, combined with their ability to create 3D prototypes, has allowed them to create and try ideas quickly, ultimately leading to final products that solves problems and can be used on a large scale. Nothing captures the speed at which the company has innovated quite like their response to COVID-19.
When it became clear that there was a ventilator shortfall in the country, Steve Yacktman, Jason Subotky, and Jonathan Coon approached SISU about making ventilators and agreed to fund the project. SISU turned a three-month design, build and test process into three days. Their team would design ventilator components during the day, with Pflugerville’s 3D manufacturing community printing them overnight.
“We had no experience with ventilators yet were able to design and produce a working model quickly and get FDA approval for them. Pflugerville’s 3D manufacturing companies helped us to produce ventilators quickly by allowing us to use their machines for the project,” said Aldridge.
Russell Aldridge sees Pflugerville’s supportive business ecosystem as a distinct advantage that has helped the company to grow.
“We have worked closely with other manufacturers located in Pflugerville and would like to expand our collaboration. For example, our CNC machine shop is currently working on interactive projects for Medway Plastics in Pflugerville. Any new companies moving in can turn to us for CNC support or help with automation. Pflugerville Community Development Corp. (PCDC) has also been a great supporter of ours, helping with the expansion of our building and arranging incentives to reduce the overall cost of hiring new employees,” he said.
Their Pflugerville location has also made it easier to recruit their workforce.
“Austin has a large tech base we can pull from. In addition, many of our employees move here from Utah. They enjoy living in the area for the family friendly environment and appreciate that housing is more affordable than in Austin,” said Aldridge.
These employees play an important role in the success of the company and carrying out Russell Aldridge’s vision. With a mission of innovating like a startup, solving problems and breaking down barriers to technology, SISU is changing how business is done, growing in competitive industries and isn’t looking back.