June 11, 2018—Enrico Krog Iversen, former CEO of the collaborative robot pioneer, Universal Robots, along with the Danish Growth Fund, is addressing the next challenge in automation with 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 aims to drive innovation 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. More offices to come in 2018.
In 2015, Iversen and the Danish Growth Fund sold the Danish cobot pioneer company Universal Robots to U.S.-based Teradyne for $285 million. With their new venture, the two investors now further strengthen Denmark’s global position in the robotics field.
Collaborative robots, which 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, but the share is expected to rise to 34% of a $25 billion market by 2025.
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 integrate to provide support and the long-term vision and capabilities of each company’s founders.
On Robot, founded in 2015,provides plug-and-play electric grippers — RG2 and RG6 — that mount directly on the robot arm, are flexible and can 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. Its first grippers will be available this year.
At the Automatica trade show in June, OnRobot will introduce the first fully integrated products with combined user interfaces that simplify both the development and use of the cobots.
OnRobot, based in Odense, Denmark, offers technologies — both hardware and software — used in end-of-arm tooling, mainly for collaborative robots (cobots). OnRobot is based on On Robot, which was founded in 2015 by Bilge Jacob Christiansen and Ebbe Overgaard Fuglsang.