UVD disinfection robots prepared for deployment. Supply: Blue Ocean Robotics

Service robots are a small however rising class inside industrial automation. Cellular robotic maker Blue Ocean Robotics ApS not too long ago acquired funding from Danish traders. The “enterprise manufacturing unit” additionally accomplished its acquisition of the belongings of telepresence supplier Appropriate Applied sciences Inc.

“Our traders have all purchased into the robotic enterprise manufacturing unit technique,” mentioned Claus Risager, CEO of Blue Ocean Robotics. “They perceive why it’s good to spend money on robotics and enterprise improvement after which promote them off. We will reuse some know-how and the way the enterprise is structured from one robotic to a different.”

Enterprise manufacturing unit raises capital

Late final month, Blue Ocean Robotics acquired near $20 million (U.S.). The corporate had raised $12 million in December 2019, earlier than the novel coronavirus disaster unfold. Many of the traders in Blue Ocean’s newest spherical have been aware of its transition from an integrator to a enterprise manufacturing unit, Risager advised The Robotic Report.

venture factory ptr

The PTR patient-lifting robotic. Supply: PTR Robots

“Blue Ocean has a powerful group of traders behind us, together with a number of the richest individuals in Denmark. We’re not publicly traded, and we wish to promote progress on our robots quite than hypothesis,” he mentioned. “Our enterprise manufacturing unit will use the capital to get our PTR patient-lifting robots and GoBe telepresence robots prepared for market and construct up manufacturing and gross sales places of work worldwide.”

“With a robotics-as-a-service or RaaS mannequin, it’s good for patrons, who can transfer to operational expenditures, however very capital-intensive for us to arrange,” mentioned Risager. “Now we have about 220 staff right this moment. It would take a very long time to get prices again, however we imagine the time is true for RaaS.”

“The benefit of our enterprise manufacturing unit mannequin is that we have already got relationships and contracts with distributors,” he mentioned. “For our robots such because the PTR, which is designed for each protected affected person switch and rehabilitation, we will reuse technical experience from our UVD disinfection robots.”

COVID-19 impacts demand

Not solely has the continuing pandemic sharply elevated demand for disinfection robots comparable to these from enterprise manufacturing unit unit UVD Robots ApS, nevertheless it has additionally posed manufacturing and provide chain challenges, acknowledged Risager. “Denmark has reopened regularly since June,” he mentioned.

“Our UVD robots have been among the many first ones out, and since 2014, now we have added tons of software program to suit with the each day workflows of hospitals,” mentioned Risager. “We’re no less than three to 5 years forward of rivals due to our amassed expertise. They’ve engaged on their robots for the previous six or seven months, and in lots of instances, they’ve simply put UV lights on an autonomous cellular robotic [AMR] with out realizing how one can level them. That’s the place we have been again in 2015.”

“A few of our Asian rivals don’t know the business and even use poisonous gases,” he added. “You then should seal off the affected person room and wait. Our robots have security sensors that can shut them down if somebody crosses a fringe or in the event that they detect individuals. We predict our 4 security techniques operating on the identical time differentiate us.”

“On the identical time, considered one of our bigger orders of between 100 and 200 robots wouldn’t have come to us with out somebody copying us,” Risager famous. “We have been the primary Danish firm to go for the skilled service robotic market, the place there may be extra innovation from Asia than within the U.S. or the remainder of Europe, which have primarily centered on industrial automation.”

World development anticipated as Denmark tries to draw expertise

“Now we have had many tons of % development in gross sales and are in 70 nations,” Risager claimed. “We anticipate the influx of consumers to proceed, and now we have plans for extra robots. We want the worldwide market to get optimistic money movement.”

What are the variations amongst completely different world markets? “Asia is nice, however there are important variations between one nation and one other’s willingness to take a position,” replied Risager. “Now we have giant prospects in Europe, however every nation needs native references. We have been a bit of bit late to get into the U.S., however we now have many installations. The U.S. is the largest development space for us.”

“Our enterprise manufacturing unit can now additionally declare to be CO2-friendly, as a result of one giant Danish industrial agency with factories all around the world has deployed 50 robots,” mentioned Risager. “They use them to avoid wasting transport time and air journey, as we will present each disinfection and telepresence capabilities. The robots are concerned in a security inspection tour, after which the corporate engages native individuals on the manufacturing line.”

“The Danish robotics neighborhood works collectively on joint advertising, and we’re part of Odense Robotics,” he mentioned. “Our universities most likely educate 100 robotics engineers a yr, and we truly rent 500 a yr within the metropolis of Odense, which has labored to draw households from around the globe to come back and keep. Now we have near 30 nationalities at Blue Ocean.”

GoBe venture factory

The GoBe telepresence robotic. Supply: Blue Ocean Robotics

Appropriate Applied sciences case closed

Though Blue Ocean Robotics had introduced its acquisition of Appropriate Applied sciences Inc. final yr, the transaction was delayed by court docket disputes between founder Scott Hassan and his ex-wife Allison Huynh. She and former shareholders claimed that Appropriate’s belongings have been undervalued.

“The decide in Delaware expressed a priority that Appropriate Applied sciences had not documented sufficient that they’d talked to a number of completely different corporations about being acquired,” Risager mentioned. “We have been the one ones left, it appeared, and the decide didn’t discover the method of how that occurred sufficiently documented.”

The telepresence firm was ultimately dealt with as a chapter case, and Blue Ocean was the successful bidder at an public sale of its remaining belongings.

“The Beam robots are 10 years previous and have reached their finish of life,” mentioned Risager. “However we have been , regardless that it was problematic, as a result of now we have tons of of consumers with hundreds of installations. As a result of we will now not order elements, now we have needed to take aside some Beams to maintain that buyer base alive by utilizing elements for repairs and upkeep functions.”

“We’ll proceed servicing them, however because the starting of final yr, our enterprise manufacturing unit has developed the GoBe from scratch with the latest {hardware} and software program and based mostly on our expertise with the UVD and different robots,” he mentioned.

“Service robots require innovation and the precise worth, and the market can be extraordinarily huge sooner or later,” mentioned Risager. “Humanoid robots are 20 years out, however on the best way, we are going to discover many specialised purposes and methods to earn money.”