Robots are becoming a significant part of leading production operations, according to a new report. The “Advanced Manufacturing 50” is CB Insights' annual list of promising private, advanced manufacturing companies in the world.
“Some of this year’s winners aim to provide robotic systems to help manufacturers increase productivity and reduce labor costs,” said CB Insights. “Others are developing advanced analytics that will allow manufacturers to maximize the efficiency and quality of their processes, systems, equipment, and more.
The New York-based software vendor's research team used the CB Insights platform and evaluated more than 6,000 applicants and nominees based on their research and development activity, proprietary Mosaic scores, investor profiles, competitive landscape, and technology novelty, as well as its analyst briefings.
Honorees raise billions toward robots, AI, analytics
This year's honorees have raised more than $3.75 billion in 46 deals last year alone, with 12 “unicorns” or valuations above $1 billion, said CB Insights. It noted that industrial automation and collaborative robots were the second largest part of the cohort at 12%, behind factory analytics and artificial intelligence at 16%.
“This initial cohort of the AM 50 includes a wide range of companies at different stages of maturity, product development, and funding,” stated Brian Lee, senior vice president at CB Insights' Intelligence Unit. “Collectively, they are working on everything from factory analytics and artificial intelligence to the industrial Internet of Things [IIoT] and cybersecurity.”
“We’re excited to watch the companies on this year’s list continue to grow and further create operational efficiencies that will have a meaningful impact across industries,” he said.
This year's robotics and cobot winners included the following:
Exotec SAS makes the Skypod scalable storage system and the Skypicker robot arm for retail order fulfillment. The company, which recently moved to Wasquehal, France, near Lille, recently announced its 3,000th robot and has raised about $447 million to date.
LINKWIZ Inc. said its L-Robot software enables robots to automatically correct their own movement in manufacturing environments. The Hamamatsu, Japan-based business has raised $17 million and also makes the L-Qualify 3D robotic inspection system.
Locus Robotics Inc. provides autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to improve piece-handling productivity. The Wilmington, Mass.-based company, which has obtained a total of $316 million, said its technology can be integrated into existing warehouse operations without disrupting workflows.
Novarc Technologies Inc. has commercialized collaborative robots and AI for automated welding in pipe-fabrication shops. The startup has raised $3 million and is based in North Vancouver, British Columbia. It offers the Spool Welding Robot (SWR), the SWR+HyperFill integrated dual-torch system, the NovEye vision and image-processing system for fully automated welding, and NovSync for data analytics.
Rokae Technology Co. in Beijing provides a cobot, a six-axis robot, and the Titanite control system, as well as custom support. Founded in 2015, the company has received $138 million and partnered with German firm Jaeger Engineering to expand in the growing European market.
Veo Robotics Inc. has developed sensors and software for FreeMove 3D, which provides dynamic speed and separation monitoring so that industrial robots can safely collaborate with humans. Human-robot collaboration is a priority for six out of 10 manufacturers, according to Veo.
The Waltham, Mass.-based company's technology detects if a human enters a workspace and automatically slows or stops the robot. When the person leaves, the robot can resume operations at speed.
Veo Robotics reacts to recognition
“We're proud to be recognized by CB Insights for our technology's ability to improve safety, productivity, and working conditions for manufacturers,” said Patrick Sobalvarro, co-founder and CEO of Veo Robotics.
“As manufacturers have been challenged by the pandemic, supply chain constraints, and labor shortages over the last few years, they've only increased the number and use of industrial robots within their facilities,” he added.
Veo claimed that FreeMove is “the only product currently available with the safety design needed to now unlock the true power of human-robot collaboration on their facility floors.”
The company has raised $28 million to date, from investors including GV (formerly Google Ventures), according to CB Insights. Veo provides computer vision to the world's top robotics vendors: ABB, FANUC, KUKA, and Yaskawa.