Zetapunto, the industrial robotics manufacturing start-up, will celebrate its first five years in business in 2021 and will do so with an important goal in mind. It was founded as an “offshoot” of Zechini, a company that was started in 1952 and specializes in the construction of machinery and equipment for paper goods and luxury packaging.

Over the years, Zetapunto has paved its own way in the robotics and industrial automation sector thanks to its formula dedicated to “accessible robotics” and it’s a winning one at that, complete with technologically-advanced solutions that are easy to use and cost accessible.

A philosophy that has opened the doors of industrial automation to an increasingly larger audience: thanks to flexible solutions offered by Zetapunto, both large and small businesses can benefit from the countless advantages that stem from the use of robotics in a manufacturing setup. It’s a more “democratic” approach to robotics, but that doesn’t mean it’s less efficient or advanced, in fact, the opposite- to trust in Zetapunto is to count on a young company, but one that is highly qualified and boasts extensive experience to rely on- behind Zetapunto is Zechini’s industrial expertise.

Zetapunto’s history has innovation and avant-garde technology as common denominators: two elements that have allowed the company to enter the world of SMEs. A goal stricken off the to-do list? It’s much more than that: it’s a starting point for a path lined with new challenges and new goals to reach.

The first amongst these is that of helping companies- even the smallest ones- in the process of transformation towards Industry 4.0. It’s a goal that involves the cosmetic sector as a key player, as Filippo Zechini, CEO & Founder, tells us in this interview:

This year marks 5 years since the founding of Zetapunto which coincides with its transformation from a start-up to a SME. Can we go over the fundamental steps that led to this?

Yes, exactly: this year marks 5 years since the founding of Zetapunto, 5 years in which we’ve experienced continual growth, not only from the company side of things but also from a technological point of view.

We started in 2015, offering robotic solutions in the world of box and paper manufacturing, a world that was already known to us because our parent company – Zechini Gra.For – has been producing machines for book binding and paper industries for the Italian and, most importantly, the international market, since 1925.

The idea of creating a business dedicated to industrial robotics came from one of the sectors which Zechini addresses in the supply of its machinery: box making.

In fact, we’ve always noted that these industries, despite being willing to introduce automation into their manufacturing processes, weren’t able to make this innovative desire a reality due to the huge investments required and the lack of qualified personnel able to operate the existing automations.

Hence, we thought that it might be possible to offer an alternative to the standard automation already present on the market: utilizing new generation robotics to offer solutions that are more flexible, easy to program, and easy to use. This is how Zetapunto came about

The idea of creating a business dedicated to industrial robotics came from one of the sectors which Zechini addresses in the supply of its machinery: box making.

Over time, we realized that the difficulties faced by these companies with regards to automation in their manufacturing processes were common in many other sectors and that we could use the know-how we’ve acquired in various fields in the manufacturing world: and so, we approached other sectors (including the cosmetic sector) with the mission of making robotics more accessible to SMEs.

We’ve never stopped over these past 5 years: we’ve deepened our knowledge in the study of plant processes and amplified our technological know-how, integrating avant-garde technologies into our solutions.

Thanks to this, today we are able to present ourselves on the market as a unique partner in the development of entire automation lines: putting the requests of our customer’s first, integrating other machines, systems, or tools with our solutions, in order to guarantee a complete solution for new or existing lines.

Let’s talk about the cosmetics sector which you’ve entered recently and one that you consider strategic. What are the goals you’ve achieved in these first 5 years and what are the upcoming challenges?

As we spoke about in the previous interview, the cosmetics sector is one of the main sectors that we’re involved with: the manufacturing processes in this world still have a strong manual component for which it’s possible to offer various types of automation.

The results achieved in this sector are notable, both from the technological and social point of view. 

We started by creating stand-alone robotic stations that are easily integrated into existing manufacturing lines, then moved to the planning of entire lines or revamping existing ones to make them more efficient and functional.

From the automation of simple operations like gluing and pick & place, today we’re able to provide automation for entire sections of the manufacturing process, reaching notable results from the numerical point of view: it’s thanks to one of our robotized lines that, in the last 3 months, more than 1 400 000 cosmetic bags have been automatically packaged. Without our automation, these products would have been packaged manually, a manufacturing process that is much more expensive and characterized by repetitive and alienating operations for workers.  

We have to admit that this is just the beginning. We believe in a future where the majority of alienating operations will be increasingly carried out by machines and increasingly less by workers and where we can contribute in this sense. This is the big challenge that we want to address in the coming years.

the manufacturing processes in this world still have a strong manual component for which it’s possible to offer various types of automation.
What are the operations that cosmetic companies frequently ask to automate and that you can support with custom made solutions?

In the cosmetics world there are thousands of different types of products: products for personal hygiene or hair, creams, perfumes, and make-up. Although the finished products are very different, there are certain manufacturing operations that are common amongst them and for which today, there’s a high demand for automation.

The loading and unloading of filling lines, adding a cap to bottles, and the packaging of products in cartons or boxes are just some of the operations that are most frequently asked of us to automate and for which we are able to plan flexible solutions that are simple to program and to integrate into existing production lines.

Despite the fact that the processes to automate in the cosmetic world are often similar amongst the different companies, we don’t offer standard one-size-fits-all solutions: our robotic stations are planned and manufactured specifically for each of our individual customers, they are custom made. Each product or process, in fact, has its own specificities and peculiarities that contribute to the starting point from which we help define the most suitable solution to satisfy the needs of the customer.

Over time, Zetapunto has therefore specialized in solutions that allow the automation of these processes.
Can you tell us something about your “end of the line” solutions for the cosmetics sector?

Among the operations discussed early, surely that of packaging products at the end of the line is one that characterizes any manufacturing process in the cosmetics world: in fact, every type of product must be packaged for distribution.

In the cosmetics sector, the operation of product packaging is often done downstream, coming after filling lines, and uses semi-automated or manual solutions which require numerous operators that take part in the alienating and repetitive activities: for this reason, we are often asked to study and provide automation solutions in this regard.

Over time, we’ve therefore specialized in solutions that allow the automation of these processes. We’re able to provide automation for different packaging operations: from robotic stations for the feeding of horizontal and vertical packaging, to solutions for the shaping and insertion of products into boxes, right up to robotized stations for the construction of end-of-line pallets.

Is it true that you offer both solution for automating entire processes as well as solutions that integrate with already existing automation?

Yes, that’s true. We’re able to meet all types of needs: if the customer already has a semi-automatic machine and wants to automate loading or unloading, we integrate the robotized solution with the existing machinery; if instead, the customer doesn’t have anything, we study a solution for them that is able to automate the entire process.