CRG Automation: Redesigning Industrial Automation
JULY 2020 — LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
James DeSmet, president of CRG Automation, is not just another corporate leader, but an enthusiastic problem solver with a penchant for complex industrial problems. For example, his company has helped the U.S. Department of Defense in packaging spent chemical warheads using industrial automation. CRG Automation’s team designed a custom packaging solution called a rocket warhead containerization system (RWCS) that automated the entire process of packaging the chemical weapon prior to its final destruction. The system comprised of six autonomous robots and eight industrial robots automating the entire process. The system is currently being retrofitted into the Department of Defense’s existing plant.
Such success stories showcase just how CRG Automation provides industrial safety solutions to its customers. Founded in 2000, the company built a strong reputation for its work integrating robots, ranging from industrial to autonomous, into assembly processes. They also developed numerous carton- and -case packing systems to allow manufacturers of all types to automatically prepare their goods for transport, eliminating back-breaking and repetitive tasks. To that end, CRG offers a line of continuous-motion and intermittent-motion cartoners.
The company understands that the off-the-shelf products do not work in every industrial setting. For that reason, they have recently launched custom-made solutions for clients who demand industry specific state-of-the-art automation technology. Such custom solutions are built after understanding the exact client requirements. Upon engaging with the client, the company’s team determines if the need is to solve a process problem or a product problem. “it starts and ends with the voice of the customer,” mentions DeSmet. Based on the data of the client’s existing process, CRG’s engineers kick off the concept development and discuss the feasibility of the new model with the customer. The expert opinion of the plant employees, engineers, and other stake holders are also considered before finalizing the concept.
The second phase of custom automation starts with prototyping, during which the team builds a proof of concept in order to study basic operations. Upon completing the proof of concept, the team moves on to the engineering section, where they start building the solid models, detailed engineering, print development and more. CRG also performs in-house fabrication and procures the parts for a network of vendors who deliver best- of-breed hardware. Once the hardware and parts are procured, and the fabrication is complete, the team moves to product line development and testing. During the final phase they perform a factory acceptance test where they evaluate the performance of the machines and check the required performance metrics. CRG Automation’s team then handles the installation and deployment of the machinery for the client, as needed.
"We put our facility to work, so that our customer’s facility works right"
CRG currently owns a 40,000-square-foot headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, which includes a controls and machine shop that are capable of fabricating any mechatronic machine. Moreover, the same facility consists of extensive floor space that is utilized to build and test automated packaging and processing lines. “We put our facility to work, so that our customer’s facility works right”, mentions DeSmet.
According to DeSmet, the company’s people are its most important asset. For that reason, they always invest in hiring the right talent and build a committed and dedicated team capable of solving complex industrial problems. More importantly, they go above and beyond to exceed their client’s expectations as the representative of CRG Automation.
CRG Automation was awarded a position in the Top 10.