Mobile Industrial Robots A/S, or MiR, and Logitrans A/S today said they have entered a strategic collaboration to build autonomous pallet jacks. The companies said they will combine MiR's autonomous navigation and software capabilities with the functionality of electric pallet jacks that Logitrans has developed over the past 80 years. The partners added that the systems will be designed to fill a gap in the market for safely, efficiently, and autonomously lifting pallets directly from the ground.
“Our mission has always been to transform the way companies handle internal logistics so they can be more productive and competitive—and this new initiative is another giant step forward in doing so,” said Søren E. Nielsen, president of Mobile Industrial Robots. “Combining our software competencies with Logitrans’ decades of hardware knowledge will help us to quickly fill this gap so that we can support our customers throughout their entire value chain.”
Odense, Denmark-based Mobile Industrial Robots sells collaborative autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). It said they can enable companies to quickly, easily, and cost-effectively manage internal logistics and free employees for higher-value activities. Hundreds of midsized through large multinational manufacturers and logistics centers, along with several hospitals around the world, have installed MiR’s innovative robots.
The vendor has a distribution network in more than 60 countries and is owned by Teradyne, a supplier of automated test equipment.
Autonomous pallet jacks to meet customer demand
The companies said the new autonomous pallet jacks will supplement Mobile Industrial Robots’ current heavy-payload mobile robots, which can transport pallets and goods smoothly and safely among people and other transport equipment in dynamic surroundings. MiR’s existing robots can pick up pallets from specially designed pallet racks, and many MiR customers are requesting AMRs that can pick-up and deliver pallets from the ground.
While MiR has identified a need among its customers, Logitrans has also seen increased demand to automate existing pallet-moving processes. The collaborators said the new system will help them both meet customer demands while also creating many business opportunities in an emerging market.
“We know that the material handling industry is moving towards automation,” said Gitte Kirkegaard, CEO of Logitrans. “It is part of our identity to always be in front regarding product development within our business range. Being able to automate our products will help us maintain our leading position. We do not have the in-house capabilities for this type of product, so the collaboration with MiR is a great match for us.”
Ribe, Denmark-based Logitrans A/S develops, manufactures, and sells material handling equipment and said it is a world leader in serving the food and pharmaceutical industries. The company has 75 employees in Denmark, 55 in China, and five in the U.S., and more than 95% of its products are sold through dealers in more than 55 countries.
New system to meet more logistics needs
Mobile Industrial Robots and Logitrans said a semi-automated and fully autonomous pallet jack will fulfill different needs in the logistics processes. They said the new product will combine Logitrans' high-quality equipment and the same navigation technology and fleet software as MiR’s current line of AMRs.
“When these AMR pallet jacks come to market, companies can rely on MiR as a solution provider for most of their intralogistics needs,” Nielsen added. “Collaborating with Logitrans will help us meet the increasing demands for these offerings even sooner, which in turn will help our customers reach their business goals.”
“With the joint competencies of MiR’s excellence in robots and Logitrans’ comprehensive product portfolio and ability to customize, we envision a future where customers can get the exact AMR solution of their needs,” Kirkegaard said.
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