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Malcolm Kerr
Director of Business Operations and Strategy  
Monday, November 22, 2021

Polar Hardware Deployment Press Release

Polar Manufacturing Rents Fully Customized Machine Tending Robot from Formic; Automates for First Time in 105 Years   

Formic’s innovative “robotics-as-a-service” model lowers traditional barriers to automation; Polar Manufacturing Company expects to save up to $77,000 a year in labor costs. 

CHICAGONovember 22, 2021-- Polar Hardware, a manufacturer of door and truck body hardware, chose Formic’s “robotics-as-a-service” offering to automate for the first time in 105 years of business. Formic partnered with DesignHawk from Chicago to engineer the machine tending system, which leverages a Universal Robot URe collaborative robot (cobot), to automate Polar’s press brake application. 

Like many manufacturers, Polar was struggling to meet its production goals and fill orders. “If Polar didn’t automate, we would be out of business,” said Jose Figuerao, Polar’s plant manager. ”We cannot compete if we cannot produce.” 

These difficulties led them to turn to automation as the solution. After researching options, Polar turned to Formic, a Chicago-based “robotics-as-a-service” company that delivers customized robots at a low hourly rate with no money upfront and guaranteed uptime. Formic’s full service includes everything from planning and deployment to maintenance.

“It’s been very painless,” said Bob Albert, owner of Polar. “We like the company we chose. They don’t just set us up and walk away. And that to me is very key. They charge us by the hour for the machine, which is a very novel approach. And if the machine’s not running, we aren’t paying for it. So if something goes wrong, they’re going to be right over here to fix it.”

As part of their “robotics-as-a-service” offering, Polar can rely on Formic to guarantee the system. This guarantee means if the system is not functioning, Formic covers all of the engineering and costs to repair and maintain the system. Additionally, Polar will not pay for the robots during any downtime. 

The URe-based machine tending system can produce 750 parts per 10 hours, which will save Polar about $77,000 a year in labor costs. Polar can monitor system performance from Formic’s platform, which delivers analytics on system performance in real time.

Already seeing promising results, Polar has signed another contract with Formic to add a spot welding robot into their facility. They are also considering moving from a 2 shift to a 3 shift operation, allowing the cobots to run around the clock. Altogether, with both systems up and running, Polar expects to save around $150,000 per year in operation costs. 

About Formic

Founded in September of 2020, Formic is a one-stop-shop for automation. The Chicago-based “Robotics-as-a-Service” company delivers customized robots at a low hourly rate with no money upfront and guaranteed uptime. Its full service includes everything from planning, deployment, to maintenance, all in an easy, no-risk fashion. For more information, visit http://www.formic.co.

Company Contact:

Malcolm Kerr


[email protected]


Kelly Wanlass

HCI Marketing and Communications


Robotics Automation