Making More Possible
How ASG’s partnership with KPG Automation fosters innovation and serves our clients better
At ASG, we’re committed to satisfying our clients in regulated industries by helping them bring their products to market. It’s what we do every day, but it’s not all we do. We also look ahead, and we work behind the scenes to develop concepts and explore ideas that will benefit our clients and U.S. manufacturing. (Read more about our engagement in Industry 4.0.)
Our Bristol, Connecticut-based sister company, KPG Automation, which evolved from origins in the personal care industry, helps us achieve that goal. We wouldn’t call KPG an innovation lab, but it’s sparking innovation that benefits us all. Staffed by industry veterans, KPG puts decades of experience to work in the realm of state-of-the-art technologies such as advanced robotics and machine learning. The team at KPG has experience installing automated systems in a multitude of industries: lab automation, medical devices, personal care products, consumer and industrial electronics and industrial process. KPG has also become a proving ground for ideas that could serve both companies’ clients in the future.
An innovation engine
Over the years, ASG has accumulated cutting-edge ideas and processes, and KPG has become a laboratory and pilot for testing them, says Doug Koeneman, ASG’s co-founder, principal and senior consultant. “We plan to drive and demonstrate our ideas through ASG,” Doug says. The goal is to help both companies work faster and better, and to develop mature and trusted practices that will benefit clients.
For example, KPG recently worked with a startup medical device company that needed pilot and commercial-scale equipment built to produce their product. “They realized they didn’t have all the details they needed to file for market authorization. So ASG came in and helped define what was needed, both from a submission and process standpoint. Now KPG is building the equipment, bringing the experiential side of things, and ASG is bringing the science and engineering side,” Doug says. That’s how the two companies could come together to help new companies bring their products and systems to market.
An edge in automation engineering
KPG and ASG combined can give clients a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. For example, the KPG team is experienced in tray handlers and feed systems. ASG’s expertise is engineering systems. The KPG team can build robotic feeding and tray-handling systems, which it views as “spoke systems” that are customized and tailor-made for the customer. “At ASG we view them as engineered systems,” Doug says. “Together, KPG and ASG can show clients the discipline behind the systems and create a standard product that clients can deliver faster. For example, in 13 weeks vs. 26 weeks and for eight cents vs. 12 cents.”
A launch pad for scaleup
The combination of skillsets at ASG and KPG make the sister companies especially valuable to clients in early stages of commercialization. “KPG can get on the implementation side and provide the equipment to manufacture, and as production scales up, reproduce that same equipment to make it better and better,” Doug says. “It’s a symbiotic relationship that’s focused on the sciences and how to make the best possible product for our stakeholders.”
The goal is to help clients leverage their productivity by improving it dramatically. “Productivity per employee has to be multiples better than other environments in order to account for costs,” Doug says. “Part of that is through automation and extending human capabilities. That’s the piece we want to focus on with KPG.”
In a broader sense, the partnership could be a gateway to Industry 4.0 and the future of manufacturing engineering.