The need for repeatability and precision, as well as shortages of skilled workers, has increased interest in automating welding. Vejen, Denmark-based WeldingDroid has announced that robotics luminary Thomas Visti Jensen has joined its ownership group. The Vejen, Denmark-based startup said it plans to use its latest capital to grow from six to 30 employees and to open branches in Germany and the U.S. by the end of 2022.
Visti was the owner and CEO of two of Denmark's most successful robotics businesses: collaborative robot leader Universal Robots A/S (UR) and Mobile Industrial Robots ApS (MiR), both of which are now Teradyne companies. He was named European CEO Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, and he recently shifted his focus to investing in Danish high-tech startups.
“WeldingDroid has a lot in common with UR and MIR,” stated Visti. “This company has a unique product that pays for itself in a very short time. WeldingDroid is ready to scale and create some serious competition and disruption in the welding business.”
WeldingDroid accelerates tasks
WeldingDroid claimed that its welding robot can complete tank and pipe welding jobs that used to take an hour in just 10 minutes, six times faster than conventional systems. The company said one unit will pay for itself in 190 work hours, or just a month and half of eight-hour workdays. That means a business using WeldingDroid could outbid competitors both on price and delivery time, it said.
The startup said its system can be used for gas tungsten arc welding, also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding of pipes and tanks with a diameter between 100 and 3,000 mm (3.93 to 118.11 in.). WeldingDroid also uses 75% less gas than ordinary welding systems and uses artificial intelligence to collect data while completing the job, according to the company.
WeldingDroid, which was founded in 2019, said it is poised for explosive growth as the COVID-19 pandemic eases and businesses swiftly recover. The company said its sales in the first half of 2021 have already exceeded total sales in 2020.
The Danish 'Lions' invest
Visti is only one of several prominent investors in WeldingDroid. Among the other investors in WeldingDroid are two of the “lions” from DR1 TV’s The Lions’ Den – a Danish version of the popular U.S. television show Shark Tank. Jesper Buch and Jacob Risgaard invested money in WeldingDroid after an episode of the show.
“We have worked with WeldingDroid since early 2020, and we feel certain the company is ready for international expansion,” Buch said. “By adding Thomas Visti, we have gained a strong partner to help us scale and expand.”
“It’s time to invest serious money across the board in this business,” said Visti. “We are talking investments in research and development, but also in sales and management.”
Visti has purchased 20% of the company, but Kevin Christensen, who is the founder of WeldingDroid, still owns the majority at 22%.
“When we first talked to Thomas Visti, he had some great insights into how we were doing things and what we potentially could do differently,” said Christensen. He added that Visti was concerned about him burning out or losing commitment to WeldingDroid. “His concern made a huge impression on me, and it showed he knows exactly how it feels to be in my shoes,” Christensen said.
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