HEBI Robotics produces hardware and software tools that make it easier to create custom robots quickly.
“Our mission at HEBI is to make building custom robots as easy as Lego so people don't think of them as complicated hard-to-use robots, but really as the next generation of tools,” said Dave Rollinson, Founder and Robotics Engineer at HEBI Robotics.
Rollinson and the rest of the HEBI team are looking to build a future where robotics are accessible to everyone.
“We want to bring robotics out into the world and help provide a new set of smart tools to amplify and augment human work and creativity,” he said. “We believe that, with a good set of tools, the possibilities of what you can build are endless, and your creative ability really expands. We want robotics to do the same.”
With previous suppliers, HEBI was faced with significant quality, cost, and speed tradeoffs that created friction in their supply chain.
“We talked to some shops and heard the same story," said Rollinson. "For some, their prices were low, but the lead times were too long. Others had fast turnaround but high prices. Some shops were more automated but couldn’t manage the specific details for tolerances or surface finishes.”
We’ve passed up several hundred thousand dollar sales because we couldn’t produce the parts quickly enough.
Ultimately, those issues started to affect the business beyond just the parts that they were able to get in the door.
“We’ve passed up several hundred thousand dollar sales because we couldn’t produce the parts quickly enough,” said Bob Raida, Chief Operating Officer at HEBI Robotics. “Addressing those supply chain issues directly impacts the bottom line because we can deliver quickly and take advantage of new opportunities.”
For Andrew Willig, a Mechanical Engineer at HEBI Robotics, the lack of communication was an issue that made manufacturing, especially overseas, a challenge.
“Typically, it took about a full day to hear back about lead times or where my parts were in the supply chain, all due to the time difference overseas,” Willig said. “Now, working with Fictiv, we can get instant communication. It really helps us quickly iterate, talk through things on our parts that may need to change, and even get updates on parts and shipments.”
Through Fictiv's digital manufacturing ecosystem, the HEBI team was able to access a wide range of high quality part manufacturing capabilities through a single streamlined source.
Being able to use Fictiv for gears is very exciting for us because we know that they're going to hit their lead times.
To date, the team has received 14,500 quality parts from Fictiv, ranging from tight tolerance CNC machined parts with multiple surface finishes, to low volume injection molded components, to quick turn 3D printed enclosures, to custom machined gears. Orders were matched with both domestic and overseas partners, to optimize for cost or speed based on HEBI’s priorities.
It’s especially relieving for the team to have a high quality source for custom gears.
“Gears have been a big bottleneck for us. We’ve had major challenges with quality and delays for gears, and when they aren’t up to quality standards, the entire actuator can’t be built,” said Willig. “Being able to use Fictiv for gears is very exciting for us because we know that they're going to hit their lead times and we're going to be in constant communication to see where our parts are in the supply chain.”
In addition to quality and speed, Rollinson said that the care and attention to detail that the Fictiv team has demonstrated gives him confidence in a long term partnership.
From the start, Fictiv was really working with us to understand what we need.
“We chose Fictiv because, from the onset, you could tell that they were approaching the relationship as a partner,” he said. “Fictiv was really working with us to understand what we need in terms of lead times, pricing, quantities, details of tolerances, and finishes, all while working with the quirks of these very precise parts with unique requirements.”
“I’m excited to see people use our tools and our technology in ways that we didn’t even imagine," Rollinson said. "There is no end to the creativity that I see in people out in the world. It’s super exciting to be part of.”