Olis Robotics Raises Funding to Enable Remote Robot Troubleshooting

Olis Connect is designed to allow users to monitor, diagnose, and remotely control robots from anywhere.

Olis Robotics

Olis Connect is designed to move a robot out of its error position, release its grip on a part causing a problem, or even use the robot to remove the part from a machine.
Olis Robotics said its Olis Connect addresses growing demand for remote control of industrial robots to enable faster and easier recovery for manufacturing processes.

Olis Robotics today announced that it has raised $4.1 million in funding. The Seattle-based company specializes in remote monitoring, control, and error-recovery technology for industrial robots. It said it plans to use the funding to support additional brands representing more than half of all industrial robots, expand partnerships with systems integrators in North America, and develop new software products.

A record 517,385 new industrial robots were installed worldwide in 2021, according to the World Robotics Report 2022 from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). That ongoing growth was driven by factors including labor shortages, reshoring initiatives, and rising e-commerce demand, said the IFR.

A spinoff of the University of Washington, Olis Robotics claimed in a release that its Olis Connect system can significantly improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and address costly robot downtime.

“Robot downtime can cost a large plant over $1 million per hour. When every minute counts, you need to leverage remote tools to react as quickly as possible, no matter where you are,” said Fredrik Ryden, CEO of Olis Robotics. “Our technology is ingeniously simple to use and intensely practical in terms of its impact.”

Olis Connect designed to enable secure, remote management

Olis Robotics said its team designed Olis Connect to provide remote access without violating a robot’s existing safety permissions and restrictions. As a result, when a robot arm is remotely controlled, it will alway obey velocity, acceleration, and joint limit settings, the company explained.

Olis Connect is controlled directly in a Web browser and delivered on an edge-hosted PC that can be quickly connected to both brand-new and legacy industrial robot arms and robotic cells, said the startup. It noted that once its plug-and-play device is installed and secure remote access has been configured, users can monitor and manage their automation remotely from anywhere via any browser-capable device.

“If a problem occurs with the robot, Olis Connect sends out an alert via a secure connection to the user’s device all without connecting to the cloud – a key consideration given the threats surrounding today’s industrial cybersecurity landscape,” said Olis. “Users can then use the system to remotely perform error-recovery actions such as releasing its grip on a part or moving the robot from its error position.”

In additon, Olis Connect provides users with remote error-correction functionality so they can get robots back up and running remotely, reducing downtime from hours to mere minutes, the company asserted. Three cameras provide low-latency monitoring of the entire cell, enabling 24/7 measurement of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as OEE and instant, on-demand video replay to forensically diagnose the root cause of any error.

Olis Robotics said its system works across brands, currently supporting systems from Universal Robots and FANUC, addressing about 20% of the operational stock of more than 3.5 million industrial robots deployed worldwide.

Technology to unlock robotics support

“Being able to remotely operate industrial robots is a game changer for us and the industry as a whole,” said Brad Sparkman, president and CEO of Innovative Finishing Solutions (IFS), an Olis Robotics partner and a leading integrator of FANUC paint robots for the automotive industry.

“We have deployed thousands of robots in the past two decades as a company,” he said. “Given the current labor challenges, we expect a majority of those to be retrofitted with Olis technology within the next couple of years.”

Silas Robertson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Applied Automation and an Olis Robotics partner, said Olis Connect empowers companies to use their best robot programmers anywhere in the world.

“What really excites me about what Olis brings to the market is the ability to unlock company resources through remote robot access in real time, ultimately providing better support for customers and their robotic applications,” he said.

PSL Ventures, Daniel Theobald back startup

PSL Ventures led Olis Robotics' funding round with participation from Tectonic Ventures and Ubiquity Ventures. Several prominent strategic angel investors also participated, including robotics pioneer Daniel Theobald, president and co-founder of MassRobotics and founder and chairman of Vecna Robotics.

“In the midst of a global manufacturing labor crisis, companies are adopting automation in record-breaking numbers, resulting in calls from both manufacturers and integrators for robust, safe, and secure remote monitoring, diagnostics, and control solutions,” stated T.A. McCann, a partner at PSL Ventures who is joining Olis Robotics’ board of directors.

“Olis Robotics’ unique remote robot control technology answers that call,” he said. “It can easily be deployed on both brand-new and legacy automation, which means a dynamic and exciting market opportunity for investors.”

“In addition to the market need and opportunity, we love backing technical founders with a clear starting point and a big vision,” McCann added. “Fredrik is one of those kinds of founders.”

Olis Connect demonstration with a UR cobot arm.

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Olis Robotics

Olis Connect is designed to move a robot out of its error position, release its grip on a part causing a problem, or even use the robot to remove the part from a machine.

Robot Technologies