Copenhagen, Denmark-based startup Kassow Robots is having its coming out party at Automatica 2018, which takes place June 19-22 in Munich, Germany. Co-founded in 2014 by Kristian Kassow, the former co-founder of Universal Robots, the company is developing lightweight, 7-DOF collaborative robot arms that it hopes will penetrate an increasingly competitive market.
Kassow Robots will be offering the KR810 (850mm reach, 10kg payload), KR1205 (1200mm reach, 5kg payload) and KR1805 (1800mm reach, 5kg payload) for €25,000 to €35,000, depending on the model. The KR810 and KR1205 are now entering production, while the KR1805 will enter production at the end of 2018.
Each robot has built-in force torque sensors to detect impact and abnormal forces and stop the robots when they’re overloaded. The company claims its tablet-like user interface can be “operated by any staff member after a basic introduction.”
There are other 7-DOF cobot arms on the market, including ABB’s YuMI, Franka Emika’s Panda, and KUKA’s LBR iiwa series, to name a few. KUKA’s new LBR iisy, introduced at Hannover Messe 2018, has 6 DOF, a maximum reach of 600 mm and a payload of 3 kg.
So 7-DOF certainly aren’t unique to Kassow Robots, but the company hopes the combination of 7 DOF, joint speeds up to 225 degrees per second, and its reach and payload will differentiate its robots from the competition. Kassow Robots will be showcasing the three cobots at Automatica in Booth A420 in Hall B4. Here’s a quick look at how Kassow Robots compares to some of the cobot arms out there:
This is a quick comparison, and there are many other factors to consider when choosing a cobot arm. If you want a more in-depth comparison, check out this buyer’s guide from Robotiq. The human arm is considered to have 7 DOF. So the more DOF, reach and payload a cobot offers can potentially lead to increased production, a wider variety of uses, saved work space and faster ROI.
Kassow Robots hasn’t tested its arms in the real world yet, so this is all rhetoric at this point. It’s been testing its arms in the lab for one year, while the others on the aforementioned list are established players.
Kassow Robots industry expertise
Kassow is well-known in the market. He helped create Universal Robots, the hands-down collaborative robot arm leader. Universal claims to have a current 58 percent share of all collaborative robots sold worldwide. Founded in 2005 by Kassow, Esben Østergaard and Kasper Støy, Universal was acquired a mere 10 years later by Teradyne for $285 million. Read all about Universal’s growth in this wonderful piece by Frank Tobe.
Kassow left Universal after he and then-CEO Enrico Krog Iversen had different visions about the direction of the company. After Universal, Kassow held multiple positions with NKT Flexibles, a supplier of flexible pipelines for the offshore and chemical industries, was project manager of the Romeo humanoid robot at Aldebaran Robotics and was co-founder of Movebot ApS for nearly three years.
So why did Kassow return to the collaborative robot market after a long hiatus? “I’ve never lost my passion for robotics and the start-up spirit,” Kassow says. “I think a lot of the [cobot] newcomers look a lot like each other, and I think we bring something new. We’ve done more technical development to bring more to the market. [The market] is getting more competitive, so we need to work hard, of course.”
Kassow Robots is self-funded
For now, one of the advantages the company has is that it’s self-funded. A Kassow Robots spokesperson said the company doesn’t want it “widely published” who the other two co-founders are, which is interesting. Kassow was a shareholder of Universal until it was acquired by Teradyne, so the well could be deep.
“We’re so lucky that the [three] owners are funding the project themselves,” Kassow says. “This certainly saves us a lot of time because it’s really time-intensive to raise funding. It’s also quite easy to make decisions between the three of us.”
Kassow Robots initial sales approach
Kassow will initially sell its robots in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Switzerland. Kassow Robots has signed the Project Group as its first systems integrator. This medium-sized company, headquartered in Kranenburg near the German town of Düsseldorf, specializes in the entire field of final packaging, equipment servicing and peripheral areas. The Project Group says Kassow Robots are well-suited for pick & place, palletizing, pallet labelling and machine tending application.
Kassow Robots will supply cobots as a base module to partners and system integrators. The partners and system integrators will then fit the cobots with grippers, camera systems and other subcomponents, and sell a complete solution to SMEs in industry.