End-of-arm-tooling robot companies merge
Enrico Krog Iversen, former CEO of Universal Robots, along with the Danish Growth Fund, announced the merger of three end-of-arm tooling companies to facilitate the ongoing growth of collaborative robotics, an industry expected to reach $8.5 billion by 2025. The new company combines U.S.-based Perception Robotics, Hungary-based OptoForce, and Denmark-based On Robot to become OnRobot, which will drive innovation and ease-of-use for robotic end-of-arm tooling.
OnRobot’s headquarters will be located in Denmark under Iversen’s management, and the three entities will continue their individual operations and development as well. In addition, OnRobot’s global network of distributors will have access to local sales support, technical assistance and product training from the company’s regional offices in Germany, China, U.S., Malaysia, and Hungary with more offices to come in 2018.
"The aim is to build a world-leading organization in development and production of end-of-arm tooling," Iversen said. "Through further acquisitions and collaborations, we expect to reach a revenue exceeding one hundred million dollars in a few years. Safe, cost-effective and versatile cobots are becoming increasingly common because theyoffer sophisticated and intuitive programming that enables them to be easily deployed and redeployed. Easy-to-integrate end-of-arm tooling, such as grippers and sensors, become vital elements in adapting these powerful automation tools for a wide range of applications."
Collaborative robots, which are designed to work safely alongside humans in applications such as packaging, quality testing, material handling, machine tending, assembly and welding, currently represent 3% of global robot sales, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), but the share is expected to rise to 34% of a $25 billion market by 2025.
"This growth will most definitely depend on cobots being used in more applications," Iversen said. "Their small footprint and ability to work safely alongside humans make them ideal for small and medium-sized manufacturers who need to compete globally. Cobots are also increasingly integrated into very large manufacturers such as automotive plants, where they are taking over processes that can’t be automated using traditional robotics. As the types of cobot applications expand, so does the need for new tooling that can be quickly and easily integrated into the cobot’s user interface."
The three companies that will form the new OnRobot were chosen because of their synergistic end-of-arm technologies, the ability of these technologies to easily integrate to provide improved support and the long-term vision and capabilities of each company’s founders.
On Robot, founded in 2015, provides plug-and-play electric grippers designed to mount directly on the robot arm, are highly flexible and are simple enough to be programmed and operated from the same interface as the robot without the need of engineers.
OptoForce, founded in 2012, provides force/torque sensors that bring the sense of touch to industrial robots so that they can automate tasks that would otherwise require the dexterity of the human hand.
Perception Robotics, founded in 2012 and based in Los Angeles, develops bio-inspired robot grippers: 1) a gecko-inspired gripper for handling large, flat objects and 2) a tactile gripper with compliant rubber tactile sensors ("skin") to give robots a sense of touch.
– Edited from an OnRobot press release by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering robotics stories.