Gerry Horan and Hongtu Du at t he partnership announcement in Drangan.
Tipperary Robotic Company Launches in Europe with Chinese Partner
Horan Automation and Consulting, a robotics and automation company based in Drangan, Tipperary today announces its partnership with Boxline Automation in Hebei, China. The joint venture company will operate its European base from Tipperary and hopes to generate 20-30 jobs in automation engineering and sales/marketing over the coming three years.
Horan automation was first established by Gerry & 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.”
Mrs. Lacy continues “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 complimented their sales process and they complimented 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.
Gerry Horan, Managing Director of Horan Automation explains 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.”
Boxline China is also delighted to partner with Horan Automation and the new Joint Venture brand will be trading as “Boxline Europe”. Mr. Du, owner of Boxline China recently visited his new partners in Tipperary to finalise the details of the business agreement. Boxline China enters into the partnership as a strong player turning over €127 million in robot sales per annum with 200 manufacturing staff. That equates to approximate sales of 400 Kuka robots in China alone.
Boxline Europe has already begun trading in Europe. The design of the cells is carried out to the customers’ specifications from the European office in Tipperary, Ireland and the manufacturing is carried out in China. All machines are CE marked to EU specifications and the Ireland support staff are on hand to provide installation and service support.
Enterprise Ireland is assisting the business across Europe and the company is fortunate to work with some excellent advisors. One such advisor, AnnMarie Carroll, has worked with Horan Automation since the inception of the Joint Venture idea. “I am delighted to see the Boxline Joint Venture materialise. From the beginning, EI were excited about the prospect of a new technology company especially in the area of robotics and automation. We wish the new company the very best of luck and we look forward to supporting them along their journey in Europe.”