Saturday, December 15, 2007
 
FANUC Robots Deck the Halls at Neiman Marcus
 

In business since 1907, Neiman Marcus is one of the world’s premier luxury ready to wear fashion stores. Herbert Marcus Sr., his sister Carrie Marcus Neiman, and her husband A.L. Neiman opened their first store in Dallas. 100 years later the Dallas store continues to serve as the chain’s flagship site.

 

Historically Niemen Marcus has a record of unique holiday store window displays. The large tree displays stopped in the early sixties but were in reinstated in 2000.  The Dallas Flagship Holiday Window project intentionally pushes the creativity envelope.  Past holiday projects have included a money tree produced in conjunction with the U. S. MINT, a water themed tree, glass trees and others.  “The problem,” says Vice President of Store Development, Ignaz Gorischek, “is outdoing yourself year after year.  The concept for the 2007 project began with a doodle on a napkin. What I envisioned was a tree and some robotic interaction. I had to sell the idea, get the tree produced and find an automation partner.  I found it somewhat easier said than done.”

 

Gorischek sold his concept and had approximately five months of lead time to launch the project.  After a few initial inquiries, Gorischek met with FANUC Robotics to discuss the project and timing. 

FANUC Robotics’ SMART Center West and Customer Resource Center (cRc) personnel were instrumental in providing three robots, software and support for the project.

 

FANUC Robotics recommended the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) to integrate the system.  FANUC Robotics and TMAC had worked together on previous automation projects. TMAC is the Texas affiliate of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (http://www.mep.nist.gov/) and is housed within the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Engineering.  When FANUC Robotics suggested TMAC, Gorischek made the call.  The project commenced in the summer of 2007 with approximately five months to design the system, program the robots, build simulations, and create the necessary tooling.  One of the challenges faced by the TMAC team was combining the aesthetics of an artistic project with the high level of precision required on an industrial project.  

 

The Neiman Holiday Window project successfully unveiled to the public on November 16, 2007. The main tree and feeder trees rotate flawlessly.  The three robots, acting as Mom, Dad and Junior, pick and place round ornaments of varying sizes on the rotating trees.  In addition, each robot picks up cue cards to communicate with each other.  Junior even dreams of being a graduate of UT-Arlington.  “Everything worked as planned and I’m smiling, which is a good thing,” added Gorischek.