Espace Presse – Evan Mason, creator of robots at the service of employees

When we talk about building industrial robots, we often think of large production lines, ultra-sophisticated and full of technology. A start-up from CEA built in 2016 and the premises of Isybot, located on the Paris-Sacle Plateau in Ile-de-France, which no one could have imagined.

One unit is enough to store all the components used to assemble ICBOT’s collaborative robots for industry, the results of 15 years of research at CEA and a truly groundbreaking innovation. And assembling the “SYB 3” robotic arm, Isybot’s star cobot, seems pretty simple. “ It takes a week to assemble. With only 3 people in production, we create the equivalent of 25 robots per year, i.e. 2.5 million euros in turnover. “In the background of rock guitar, two people work in a workshop that day and the parts fit together because one would make a huge mechanic,” the leader explained.
We are all fans of construction games at Isybot “Slip, smile, Evan Mason.

Geek culture as inspiration

It was this passion for Lego®, Kapla® and other construction games that led Evan Mason to study robotics. ”
Ever since I was little, I have loved designing objects, imagining giving them life. I was also a big fan of science fiction. I grew up in the 80’s with Grandizer, Star Wars or Isaac Asimov and his book The Robot Bicycle… all of which stimulated my imagination and my desire to develop autonomous machines. “, He believes.

Leaving the engineering school, his childhood dream came true in a rather real way. ”
I was part of the last generation of men to serve in the military in the late 1990’s. And as a scientist, I was assigned to the CEA in Markle where I worked using robots to dismantle nuclear installations. We wanted to clean up the nuclear environment while reducing workers’ exposure to radiation “A research project with a” humanitarian purpose “that appeals to the young engineer and strengthens his desire to work in robotics. He will never leave the organization,” said Evan Mason.
I am a pure product of CEA “, He slips.

The pioneer of cobotics

Over the next 15 years, Evan Mason explored various fields, such as nuclear power, minimally invasive surgery, or agriculture. Then in 2006, he was promoted to head of the Teleoperation and Cobotics Laboratory – a neologism that narrowed down the words “collaborator” and “robot” to a new generation of robots designed to share work with employees. Unlike traditional robots that operate autonomously, “cobots” rely on an operator to perform their tasks. In this way they become human helpers and not his substitute. At the time, cobotics was a new discipline that needed to be explored. It originated after the evolution of a basic European directive that allowed operators to work with live machines (2006/42 / EC). They no longer need to be kept in cages at a distance. In the industry, they represent disruptive innovation and a ”
Exciting project For Evan Mason.

Evan Mason, CEO of ICEBOT © CEA

Useful machines for humans

This revolution echoes his deep desire to create machines that are useful to man, capable of improving human knowledge. ”
I am very attached to the industry and its business. I strongly believe that robotics, and cobot in particular, is a response to the phenomenon of non-entrepreneurship. By freeing operators from backbreaking and repetitive tasks, we free up their time which they can allocate for higher overhead work. This makes the job in the industry more attractive “, He promises.

A precise vision of industrial demand

Then in 2010, Evan Mason became a business developer for his laboratory aimed at transferring robotic technology to the industry. In meeting with the manufacturers, he then realized the need to install cobwebs in the factory, especially for manual work that is difficult to automate or very difficult to perform. But at the time, this widespread need did not encourage anyone to invest in developing these new machines.

So, inspired by Ian Perrot, director of CEA’s Interactive Robotics Laboratory, he decided to focus his research in this area. Taking advantage of the institute’s innovative portfolio, engineers are building a robotic arm equipped with actuation technology without force sensors or gears. And to attract manufacturers, Yvan Measson focuses on art sanding.

ICBOT is a specialty of robotic hands: industrial sanding

Isibot is a specialty of Robotic Hands: Industrial Sanding: Isibot

A jump into the unknown that turns out to be a winner. In 2016, robotist start-up Isybot was created and in the same year SNCF then signed a first order with Dassault Aviation. In the process, he is trusted by Airbus, but also by Saffron or even the Benettiu sail maker. The first robots were launched in 2018 I never imagined I would start a business one day. But when I became a business developer, it was a revelation. I discovered that I have commercial fiber and I like to convey “She is OK. And to add:
And then, it coincides with a small quarantine crisis. It was time for me to seize new opportunities. A

Isybot works exclusively with sailing manufacturer Beneteau

Isybot works exclusively with sailing manufacturer Beneteau © Isybot

And to see the amazing growth of the Isibot, we tell ourselves that it would be a shame if Evan Mason didn’t try his luck. But he admits, setting up such a project is not easy, and he had to learn to give up. However, it knows where it wants to go and Isibot has big plans for the next few years, such as opening internationally, using and diversifying applications (polishing, grinding, handling, etc.) and setting up new industries … an ambition that he CEA Its robotics laboratory continues to co-build.


Isybot cobot, a tool for future industry

Thanks to its gearless system, the ICBOT Cobot is lightweight, easy to move and, above all, safer than a conventional robot. An autonomous machine designed in CEA laboratories – and patented in 2001 – but also by operators. “ We wanted to create a machine that was really useful for operators, and for that we gave them models and considered their feedback. That’s what Evan Mason says.

Result: This robotic arm is very easy to use. Installed in a trolley with just 2 buttons, the SYB Cobot does not change the factory environment but becomes a true ally for operators, even those who have no robot training. ”
Strict simplification of the machine allows us to set it up very quickly. In half a day, the team is formed The entrepreneur said.

And more importantly for Evan Mason, the robot was not left in a corner of the workshop. Bodybuilders have built it themselves and they get to see the benefits of the SYB 3 Cobot every day.
They do not feel dependent on robots. Moreover, some even define themselves as cobot pilots, which profoundly changes their concept of work. 6, Evan Mason explains with pride.

Interview with Ann-Lour LeBron

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