Science

Cash and Repair relies on its unique smartphone update robot in the world – Le Journal des Entreprises – Loire-Atlantique – Vendée

For the first time in the world. This is how Vendée SME Cash and Repair, specialist in refurbishment of high-tech products (phones and laptops, tablets, connected objects, game consoles), introduces BoBee. Behind the name is a robot that dismantles smartphones without destroying them in order to restore components that can be reused. It will open up new development prospects for small and medium-sized businesses, or rather for the group to which it belongs.

This group of 70 employees, based in Dompierre-sur-Yon and bearing the name of its founder Bertrand Lepineau, includes, in addition to the environmental association (Blue Green Planet), the wholesaler of spare parts CR Digital and the training center. CR Consulting. Cash and Repair is his front man. Through its workshops, corners located in the shopping centers of E.Leclerc, household appliances are modernized. Ten own workshops and thirteen franchises are located throughout France, with plans for five more. “We also work directly with companies, an activity that is still marginal, but has become increasingly important since the end of 2021,” adds manager Bertrand Lepino.

R&D with students and integrator

It took three years of research and development to bring the BoBee robot to life. Cash and Repair was assisted by three fifth-year students from the Icam engineering school in La Roche-sur-Yon and IT Automation, based in Derval in the Loire-Atlantique. BoBee officially begins demolition work on Monday, September 12, with a goal of recycling 90,000 phones in 2023. The amount of investment in its creation is not disclosed.

As for the threat of employment, Bertrand Lepino wants to reassure: “Within a year, Bobee will allow us to create about fifty jobs, whether it be maintenance or product flow management.”

New franchise network coming soon

Since the BoBee robot is able to disassemble a smartphone in less than five minutes at cruising speed, the extracted components will go to the Cash and Repair workshops. “Today, says Bertrand Lepino, phone repairs are carried out using 2 to 3% of used spare parts. The goal is to reach 50% by September 2023,” admits the president of the company.

Bertrand Lepino, founder and president of Cash and Repair. – Photo: Cyril Reynaud

The robot will also provide components for a brand new network that the Vendée group will officially launch on September 12th. Still with the idea of ​​upgrading mobile phones, a new company, Be My Phone, which has been testing as a franchise for a year in a shopping mall in Basse-Goulen (Loire-Atlantique), is about to see the light of day. The concept: buy phones and then resell them refurbished. If Bertan Lepino believes that the group can open about twenty franchises a year, “we do not set quantitative goals for ourselves, at the risk of not being sure of hiring franchisees.” Thus, BoBee will allow smartphones to be repaired, as well as fully restored from refurbished parts.

Number one

With consumer enthusiasm for recycled and used items, Cash and Repair’s turnover has increased dramatically, reaching 7 million euros in 2020, climbing to 12.5 million in 2021 and likely reaching 14-15 million in 2022.

How far will the robot allow the group to grow? “The goal we set for ourselves in 2018 is to become a leader in our markets,” describes Bertrand Lepino. Today, Cash And Repair is the fourth French chain, and CR Digital is one of the three largest French wholesalers of spare parts, according to the manager.

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