We have excitedly followed the path of Artaic, a company using custom robotics to make amazing mosaics for residential and commercial installations. After many years in the Seaport, Artaic is expanding and has moved their headquarters to Charlestown’s Schrafft Center. (See BBJ article here) We joined our friends at the recent open house to showcase their new space and had the chance to speak with Ted Acworth, the founder and CEO, and ask him a few questions:
How have robots allowed you to create your business in mosaics?
America simply can’t compete with countries like China and India on labor costs. In terms of producing beautiful mosaic art work for everything from a small residential project to a large commercial project, the robotics allows us to provide clients a level of speed, efficiency, quality control, and service that would not otherwise be possible. Without robotics, Artaic would be left with the front of house proprietary software and design services, which are still value-oriented and competitively distinctive innovation, but we simply could not compete against foreign low cost producers on price.
How have the capabilities of your robots improved?
At Artaic we are always relentlessly driving our technology toward producing better quality, faster, and at more affordable costs to meet the needs and exceed expectations of our clients. Last year we introduced our 5th generation robot, Artemis. We are currently working on two new next generation options. Artemis reduces our labor cost to 1/5th of what it was while more than doubling output, all at higher precision and better traceability of quality. And we have plenty of ideas for getting even better. Importantly, with Artemis we are now able to assemble mosaics made from a broader range of size and material types and finishes, ranging from glasses and stone to porcelain.
I know you love them all but what has been your favorite tile project so far?
I get asked that so often and I wish I had an easy answer. But, it’s impossible to pick one. These days we are shipping roughly a project a day. Each and every one is a unique creation born through client collaboration. Just last week I traveled through Philadelphia airport and once again came across a public art mural that I’ve passed by over the past 10 years. Every time, I get such a thrill when I observe that people really take notice of it and appreciate it. I can see on their faces the delight that the works create, truly making the world a more beautiful place. That’s the most fulfilling thing of all about Artaic – our artwork. These days we do projects across hospitality, corporate, residential, healthcare, education, transportation…everywhere. But, public art projects have a special place in my heart due to the “made for all to enjoy” nature. The exposure of the art works to a broad audience of people translates to broad ranging impact – #mosaicsmakememories. So while I can’t pick a favorite project, I will say that all our public art projects rank up at the top.
What’s next for Artaic?
We are continuing to innovate across a broad spectrum of mosaic and tile capabilities. Being a scientist and engineer by training I can’t help but keep exploring different aspects of potential innovation in the tile domain. For example, recently we completed a pilot project with one of the largest pre-fabrication companies in the world and took our tile customization capabilities to the next level at scale. Through pre-fabrication we were able to be producing tile works at massive scale while reducing costs by over 30%, all while increasing the level of design customization achievable. Why settle for boring tile when through our technologies you can have custom mosaic tile? After all, it’s the same raw material. Let’s just take it to the next level of design, assembly, and install. Why build a hotel, or hospital, or dorm, with 200 bathroom all the same? Now you can have each one unique and meaningful, contextually relevant to its surroundings.
Congratulations to Artaic on their continued growth and recent expansion. Artaic also provided us the beautiful custom mosaic for the entrance of the MassRobotics space.