Proxinnov: an innovation platform to boost the industrial integration of robotics in SMEs

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Atlantic France stands out in industry 4.0 with key assets to innovate, and in particular technical research platforms and networks such as Proxinnov. The association gathers together robotic suppliers, integrators and end-users. It offers cutting-edge support and facilities in order to help SMEs in integrating innovative products and processes. 

A few months ago, we organised a webinar on industrial robotics. It was the occasion to present Proxinnov, a non-profit organisation created in 2013. The public-private association specialises in industrial automation and offers dedicated support to SMEs based in Atlantic France.

A team of experts, an innovation center and a business cluster

Located in La Roche-sur-Yon, Vendée, Proxinnov relies on 9 experts, mainly engineers but also a contract lawyer. 

The platform offers a 1,500 sqm premises dedicated to industrial robotics and a workshop for feasibility tests. Since 2019, the place has hosted a complete industrial pilot line composed of different work cells covering the core functionalities usually met in industry: welding,assembly, agri-food, finishing cell, quality, etc. 400 extra sqm are to come in 2022.

The members’ network brings together over 150 industrial partners representing the whole value chain: equipment suppliers, integrators and end users. Nearly 75% of the members are in Atlantic France, but the association also consists of members from other French regions.

If you are a solution provider, “Proxinnov is the right place to market your product, make it visible in an industrial environment and integrate it in a complete system”, explains Pierre Loonis, Head of Proxinnov. And if you are an industrial, the innovation center can help by “accelerating your business through impacting robotic solutions”.

A wide range of services for industrials and robotics professionals

Studies on the economic or technical feasibility of innovative projects

Proxinnov is dedicated to mature projects, very close to entering the market and that need help to break through. The innovation platform works closely with other Atlantic France organisations such as the IRT Jules Verne and the world-class research lab LS2N of the University of Nantes which can support more early stage innovative projects.

Thanks to a wide range of expertise (mechanics, design, programming, logistics, safety, human acceptability, ergonomy, etc.), the association conducts robotics integration feasibility studies, industrial proof of concept and technical tests.  

Here are a few examples of recent projects:

  • application of glue by a robot
  • prototyping a collaborative application for a packaging task
  • defect tracking on transparent plastic pieces
  • assembly process with a cobot
  • polishing plastic injection moulds

Making a name for itself in Europe, Proxinnov is the only French member of the EU-accredited excellency network DIH² which is dedicated to robotic integration. The association is also part of the European project Metrics which aims to contribute to international normalisation in robotics.

Train professionals on robotics solutions

The innovation platform relies on its robotics workshop to provide training to professionals. Its industrial environment enables Proxinnov to train professionals to use or implement robotics in their own company.

Our mission is not only to solve problems”, states the Head of Proxinnov Pierre Loonis. “We are also here to bring this solution to our network, transmitting our know-how and continuous expertise to our members. That is why we regularly organise training for industrials from the basics of robotics up to advanced levels […] We are making the link between academics and industrials in the scope of robotics.

Communicate and promote the members’ projects

Lastly, Proxinnov is in charge of promoting its members’ innovative projects and success stories. The association publishes videos, a newsletter and many updates on social media, and participates in various trade fairs.

The innovation center also organises technical days open to all companies, in which 50% of the attendees are from outside the network.

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