OnRobot has acquired Purple Robotics, a Denmark-based startup that just recently introduced the PR10 electrical-based vacuum gripper that doesn’t require an external air supply. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
This acquisition comes just two months after the OnRobot merger brought together US-based Perception Robotics, Hungary-based OptoForce, and Denmark-based OnRobot under the leadership of CEO Enrico Krog Iversen. The PR10 caught The Robot Report‘s eye at Automatica 2018, and it looks poised to help OnRobot’s goal of becoming a one-stop shop for robot accessories.
Purple Robotics was launched in 2017 by three former Universal Robots (UR) employees with 18-plus years experience working on the UR3, UR5, and UR10 cobots. Co-founders Lasse Kieffer, Henrik Tillitz Hansen, and Peter Nadolny Madsen, who describe themselves as “three Danish super-nerds,” found 40 partners in 25 countries just three months after launching the PR10. Iversen also knows UR well, of course, having served as UR’s CEO from 2008 through the sale to Teradyne in 2015.
It appears the Purple Robotics brand will disappear and fall under the OnRobot umbrella. OptoForce and Perception Robotics followed similar paths. The three Purple Robotics co-founders are expected to join OnRobot’s team.
“It must be easily conceivable to automate even small production batches. Otherwise, robot technology is not a good investment. This is why we hand pick the best and most user-friendly robot products and integrate them in OnRobot,” says Iversen. “We are extremely pleased to now be able to offer our robot partners and integrators the vacuum gripper, just as we look forward to being able to add the top class Purple Robotics robot developers to our development department.”
The PR10, which has a payload up to 10kg and costs about $4700 (€4000 Euros), features an internal air supply with an airflow that is self-contained. It also offers two individual vacuum channels that can use simultaneously use different suction power and lost grip detection. Purple Robotics claims the PR10 can be up and running in about 30 minutes with no prior training, which would reduces both the cost of implementation and changeover time between production lines.
“It has been really good fun to create a brand new robotics company and to disrupt the market for vacuum grippers with our invention,” says Kieffer. “It makes a lot of sense and creates significant synergy to join forces with OnRobot, who have already created a strong, global sales organisation. This means that we can focus 100 percent on developing the world’s coolest robotics products. Together, we can go far.”
OnRobot raises three-digit-million funding round
Iversen says “Purple Robotics will definitely not be our last acquisition. We have our eye on a number of other, interesting companies around the world.” And OnRobot is well-positioned to do so thanks to a new round of funding led by Summit Partners, with participation from existing investor The Danish Growth Fund.
The amount of funding raised wasn’t disclosed, but an OnRobot spokesperson confirmed it was a “three-digit million” round. Summit Partners, for what it is worth, has a target investment range between $10 million to more than $500 million for minority to majority stakes in companies. The firm has offices in Boston, Menlo Park, Calif. and London.
The funding will help support OnRobot’s continued international growth and expansion of its product portfolio.
“OnRobot is at the forefront of a new generation of factory automation technologies within the Industry 4.0 paradigm,” says Johannes Grefe, a Principal with Summit Partners. “We are impressed with OnRobot’s ability to capitalize on the fast-growing and dynamic market for collaborative robot applications, and we believe the company is well-positioned for accelerated growth.”
“Over the last decade, Enrico helped establish Denmark as the Silicon Valley of robotic innovation,” says Han Sikkens, a Managing Director with Summit Partners who will join the OnRobot Board of Directors. “We have great admiration for his entrepreneurial vision and drive, and we are excited to partner with Enrico to build OnRobot into a global leader.”
Editor’s Note: This story is still developing will be updated accordingly.