Ira – Industrial Robot Automation ApS – is a Danish company. Ira was founded in 2010 by persons with more than 30 years experience in the printing industry.
Ira is partly owned by Robot Invest ApS, Henrik Christiansen and the venture fund STI – Syddansk Teknologisk Innovation.
Ira cooperates closely with Scandinavia’s leading universities for robotics science – Syddansk University in Denmark, Linköping University in Sweden and Denmark’s Teknologisk Institut (Denmark’s biggest engineering development organization). Ira is also backed by the Danish Ministry of Research, Innovation and Superior Education and has a worldwide development and marketing agreement with Yaskawa Electric Corporation from Fukuoka, Japan relating to its Motoman robots for the graphics industry. Yaskawa is the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial robots and the only supplier of two armed industrial robots. For more information, see ira partners.
Ira excels in identifying opportunities for the use of robots in the printing industry and then developing all necessary related programming. The company’s primary objective is to introduce robotic solutions to the printing industry that can improve efficiency, productivity and profitability.
The most labor intensive print production is within sheet-fed offset and digital printing, because each step in the production process within commercial-, book-, magazine-, package- and label printing contains numerous individual activities that cannot be linked together. Thus each production process requires significant material lifting to and from pallets. Ira’s vision is to automate these pallet lifts with robotic solutions. The challenge of material handling in print production is that substrates (paper, board, plastics) are “living” materials that are difficult, if not impossible, for conventional robots to handle. The solution is to use advanced humanoid robots, which are just now being introduced in the robotic industry.
Together with Yaskawa, ira and some of Scandinavia’s most experienced robotic engineers have developed ira P-165 SLRC for paper lifting, airing, separating and moving. It is ira’s and Yaskawa’s vision to introduce other sophisticated robotic solution based on this winning concept for the printing industry in the near future.
Ira’s way forward
Ira’s plan for the near future is to introduce advanced 2-arm humanoid industrial robots for easy and efficient handling of “living” products like paper to the printing industry. The most obvious application to robotize is lifting, airing, separating and moving substrates from a pallet to a vibration of a paper cutter. Ira P-165 SLRC, which does exactly this, is ira’s first application to print production and is patent protected.
Ultimately ira seeks to automate every working position in the print production process containing manual, repetitive, boring and heavy work.
Henrik Christiansen (b. 1947)
Henrik Christiansen is co-founder of IRA and a veteran within the printing industry. Henrik Christiansen is a graduate of the Copenhagen Business School of Economics with a degree in international business.
Henrik Christiansen entered the printing ancillary industry via Eskofot (1977), which was a significant manufacturer of copiers, repro-cameras, printing down frames and film- and plate processors in Denmark, supplying a wide range of the leading companies Kodak, Agfa, 3M etc. with private label OEM equipment. Eskofot is today an integrated part of EscoScan
From 1981 to 1997 Henrik Christiansen participated in the European introduction of the Japanese press manufacturers Komori and later Mitsubishi. This gave him a comprehensive knowledge about the Japanese sheet- and web-fed offset press industry, as well as its European competitors Heidelberg, Manroland and KBA.
In 1997 Henrik Christiansen founded Cool Graphics, which in close cooperation with Toray developed a range of very sophisticated and efficient offset press temperature control systems. Cool Graphics started in 2001 a close cooperation with the American Royse Manufacturing Company in Dallas, Texas, a leading supplier of dampening water circulators. The company Royse and Cool Graphics product line was in 2003 successfully sold to the Danish company Tresu Production, one of the world’s two leading supplies of coating systems for sheet fed offset presses and a leading manufacturer of flexo printing presses. Henrik Christiansen performed various consultant jobs for Tresu until 2007.
Henrik Christiansen started to focus on the logistics in the printing business, and in 2008 he established contact to one of the world’s leading robot manufacturers, Yaskawa Electric Corporation from Japan. Yaskawa manufactures and markets the world’s only 2-arm humanoid industrial robot, which can be used many places in the printing business to handle sheets and other non-stiff products. The common research about robotic solutions for the printing industry led to the establishment of IRA in 2010 with the purpose of developing and marketing Yaskawa’s robot line into the printing industry.
Henrik Christiansen is Danish and since 1992 a resident of Sweden in Limhamn – as close to Copenhagen, Denmark, as you can get.