Based in Rodome, in Aude, two carpenters have joined forces to design and develop a portable digital robot that facilitates, optimizes and secures the work of carpenters. Ilias Zinsstag and Pierre Giusti are in the process of raising funds to continue the development of their company Epur.
Founded in August 2016, SAS Epur is developing a portable numerically controlled milling machine. A patented concept that is revolutionizing the profession: "Our Oakbot robot saves 50% of the operator's time," says Ilias Zinsstag. Compared to conventional machines, this robot no longer requires human intervention until the end of its work cycle. It is therefore less dangerous. It allows a large set of assembly geometries to be produced, thanks to simplified entry of instructions via a color touch screen. The inventor is the company's second partner, Pierre Giusti. The two carpenters met during a construction site and sought to resolve the loss of time caused by serial cuts of the same size. After two years of DIY and research in his garage, Pierre Giusti created Oakbot. The concept was spotted by A2C, designer and manufacturer of handling equipment renowned in France. This merger allows the young company to become their sales agent in the southwest. The distributor plans to list the future Oakbot in its catalog.
Since the creation of the company, several advances have been made. On a technical level, version IV was released in July 2018 as an aluminum prototype (developed by the Toulouse design office Sysmeca). Ten robots are being manufactured today and will be ready for sale in beta test or for demonstration from 2019. Sale price: around 40,000 euros. “We plan to double production every year,” announces Ilias Zinsstag, who is counting on the fundraising he is in the process of closing. A fundraising of up to 500 K € that he leads with investors such as Melies Business Angels or Amba (Arts et Métiers Business Angels) and other private investors. Epur has already benefited from the support of financial players and communities, i.e. 60,000 euros collected in the first year from the Region, local municipalities, Adepfo (Association Développement des Pyrénées par la Formation), Bpifrance, Créalia … This support as well as various awards received in the region have given it a certain visibility in the sector.
The fundraising would allow the company to develop and move, still in the same territory, on the Sault plateau. A new installation housing an assembly workshop and the rest of the teams is thus planned for the next 12 to 18 months: “Territorial development is one of the company's values, we want to preserve dynamism in rural areas. Our villages are emptying more and more! It's up to us to create activity on site, ”explains Ilias Zinsstag, who has already recruited six people in 2018, including engineers, IT specialists, technicians. A sales representative will join the team next January. For the moment, the company plans to sell its robots in France via the network of its partner A2C, resellers already identified, but also in direct sale to craftsmen carpenters and builders. In a second step, Germany and Switzerland will be the commercial target of Epur, before attacking the gigantic North American market where 80% of new constructions are made of wood.
Original article published on Entreprise Occitanie