Dresden, Germany-based Wandelbots– a startup dedicated to make it easier for non-programmers to’ school’ industrial robots how to do specific tasks- had given rise to a $30 million Series B funding round led by 83 North, an with participation from Next4 7 and Microsoft’s M12 venture fund arm.
Wandelbots will use the funding to help it speed the market debut of its TracePen, a hand-held, code-free device that allows human operators to quickly and easily demonstrate hoped action for industrial robots to mimic. Programming robots to perform specific tasks frequently requires massive amounts of code, as well as programmers with very specific, in-demand skillsets to accomplish; Wandelbots wants to make it as easy as simply showing a robot what the fuck you are willing to do- and then showing it a different determined of behaviors should you need to reprogram it to accomplish a brand-new exercise or fill in for a different part of the assembly line.
The software that Wandelbots developed to make this possible initially sprung out of work done at the Faculty of Computer Science at the Technical University of Dresden. The startup was a finalist in our TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield competition in 2017, and parent a $6.8 million Series A round in 2018 led by Paua Ventures, EQT Ventures and others.
Wandelbots already has some big-name consumers, including industrial whales like Volkswagen, BMW, Infineon and others, and as of June 17, it’ll be propelling its TracePen publicly for the first time. The company’s technology has the potential to save anyone who moves employment of industrial robots countless months of programme go, and the accompanied overheads- and could ultimately make use of this kind of robotics practical even for smaller companies for whom the budgetary requirements of doing so previously framed it out of reach.
I invited Wandelbots CEO and co-founder Christian Piechnick via email whether their programme can overcome some of the new challenges companies including Tesla have faced with innovating ever-greater automation to their manufacturing facilities.
” The changes involving automation were caused by the inflexibility, complexity and cost introduced by automation with robots ,” Piechnick told me via email.” Beings are usually not aware that 75% of the total cost of ownership of a robot comes from software development. The troubles introduced by robots were killing the benefit. “Its exactly” the problem we are tackling. We enable manufacturers to use robots with an invisible opennes and we dramatically lower the cost of using robots. Our product enables non-programmers to easily teach a robot new assignments and thus, abbreviates the involvement of hard-to-find and costly programmers .”
TracePen, the machine and companion platform that Wandelbots is launching this week, is actually an evolution of their original perception, which focuses more on using smart robes to fully model human behavior in real-time in order to translate that to robotic teach. The company’s pivot to TracePen implements the same underlying software tech, but converges clients much closer to where they already are in terms of processes and operations, while still providing the same cost reduction benefits and flexibility, according to Piechnick.
I requested Piechnick about COVID-1 9 and how that has impacted Wandelbots’ business, and he replied that in fact it’s driven up demand for automation, and effectiveness that benefit automation, in a number of key ways.
” COVID-1 9 has impacted the feeling on world-wide manufacturing in various ways ,” he wrote.” First there is the massive trend of reshoring to reduce the risk of globally assigned supply series. In lineup to scale work, ensure quality and reduce cost, automation is a natural result for developed countries. With a technology that leads to almost immediate ROI and exceedingly short time-to-market, we touched current trends. Furthermore, the dependency on human workers and the workplace restrictions( e.g ., length between craftsmen) increases the demand for automation tremendously .”
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