Exotec SAS, which makes the Skypod scalable storage system and the Skypicker robot arm, yesterday announced that it has built its 3,000th robot. The Lille, France-based company said it expects to continue growing both its staff and prodcution volumes in 2022.
“The production of this 3,000th robot is a huge milestone for us that rewards all the effort and commitment of our teams, and helps us keep pace with a demand that’s increased tenfold over just a few months,” stated Renaud Heitz, co-founder and chief technology officer of Exotec.
“We aim to keep moving faster, especially in the U.S., and we’ll continue to recruit in order to sustain this production rate and keep ahead of the curve in terms of R&D,” he added.
Exotec picks up funding, customers
In January, Exotec raised $335 million in Series D funding, and it had previously raised $90 million in 2020. The company said it produces its mobile robots, which can both roll on floors and climb shelving, at its headquarters in France for export around the world.
“The Skypicker seamlessly integrates with Skypod manual picking stations,” Romain Moulin, co-founder and CEO of Exotec, told Robotics 24/7 at the time of the Series D round. “If the Skypicker cannot pick up an item [because] it’s too heavy or oddly shaped, the order is automatically moved to the manual picking station to be completed. The Skypicker complements the Skypod system to create the perfect 'goods to robots' solution, further increasing productivity.”
In March, Exotec displayed its combination of mobile robots, automated storage and picking, and fulfillment systems at MODEX 2022. The company's U.S. offices are in Atlanta.
Skypod requires more staffers
To sustain target production volumes and deploy its systems in Europe, North America, and Asia, Exotec Solutions said it expects to ramp up recruitment. The company has hired 100 staffers so far this year, with many of them counting toward its goal of 500 engineers.
Some of Exotec's new engineers will start in 2024 at “Imaginarium,” its new head office in Wasquehal, France, near Lille. The company said Wasquehal will become a center for “Made in France” robotics and engineering.
The global market for warehouse automation was worth about $14.86 billion in 2020, according to Research and Markets. It could experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% between 2022 and 2027, reaching $41 billion in 2027, said LogisticsIQ.
Both market research firms noted strong expectations for North America and worldwide, interest in micro-fulfillment centers, and mobile robots as an alternative to automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS).