The Danish robot company On Robot has just received a capital contribution worth millions of Danish kroner. The investment is for the further development of their unique collaborative gripper for cobots that are able to work alongside humans. The investment comes from an experienced team of investors with substantial knowledge of the robot environment, including The Danish Growth Fund, Enrico Krog Iversen, former CEO of the successful Danish robot company Universal Robots, as well as Thomas Visti, CEO of Mobile Industrial Robots.

ON-Robot-manufacturingThe market for industrial automation through the use of robots has been growing rapidly for the last few years, and continues to grow. In Denmark, this growth is particularly seen around the city of Odense where a number of Danish robot companies are centered, for example Universal Robots which, 10 years after being founded, was sold to American multinational Teradyne in 2015.

One of the jewels in the crown is On Robot, a small, innovative company that has developed a collaborative gripper that can be mounted on, for example, Universal Robots’ robot arms. Since its foundation in 2015, On Robot has created sales in several parts of the world, even before the sales department was formally established. The unique gripper RG2 is now grabbing pieces in 40 countries.

With the investment of millions of kroner from an experienced investor team, the company is now ready to accelerate growth further. Behind the investment is, among others, The Danish Growth Fund, which has previously also invested in Universal Robots, as well as Enrico Krog Iversen, previous CEO of Universal Robots.
Great experience unified in one investor team
It is a strong team with experience from the robot industry that has now gathered around On Robot. The investor group consists of Vækstfonden (The Danish Growth Fund), Enrico Krog Iversen (previous CEO of Universal Robots) and Thomas Visti (CEO in Mobile Industrial Robots, MiR). Furthermore, Torben Ekvall (previous CEO of Brüel & Kjær Vibro, pioneer in machine monitoring solutions) has been brought in as CEO and co-investor, and Jørn Kildegaard (previous CEO of GN Store Nord, manufacturer of intelligent audio solutions) is new chairman of the board.

This gathering of skills and knowledge is particularly highlighted by Torben Ekvall who joined On Robot as CEO on October 1st 2016, and thus will be at the head of further development of the company.

“Our clear objective is to become world-leaders in the delivery of grippers for collaborative robots. On Robot has developed a unique product that simplifies a complex task by being plug & play, and also very easy to modify. At the same time, we have been granted access to some very strong resources from the robot industry to use in our company, one of them being Enrico Krog Iversen who brings with him experience from Universal Robots and an exhaustive knowledge and understanding of the industry,” says Torben Ekvall.

Lars Rønn, partner at VF Venture with The Danish Growth Fund, sees great potential in On Robot and is looking forward to following the development of the company.

“On Robot is currently tapping into a megatrend in the automation field, where collaborative robots are becoming both cheaper and more simple to program. This means that robot technology is becoming accessible to a new segment of clients among small and medium-sized companies, and thus addresses a significantly larger volume than classic industrial application. That is why we have great expectations for On Robot, in combination with some very experienced resource people, to be able to grow to a leading position in the industry,” says Lars Rønn.

From the very beginning, On Robot has had the support of a strong profile from the robot industry. Thomas Visti, CEO of Mobile Industrial Robots, has served as a mentor for the founders of On Robot, and was the first investor to inject capital into the company in February 2016. He is now following this initial investment with a further injection of capital.

“On Robot is one of the Danish robot companies that I truly believe will be one of the next major stars in the global robot industry because they have a good, user-friendly product at an affordable price. The market for collaborative robotics has grown rapidly in recent years; we have only seen the beginning. Viewed over the longer term, there will be many more manufacturers of cobots, and therefore there will be an even greater need for collaborative grippers like the RG2,” says Thomas Visti, MiR

Plug & play gripper for collaborative robots
On Robot has developed the collaborative gripper RG2 that can be mounted on robot arms from Universal Robots and is easily programmable via the same interface as the arm itself. The gripper has been developed by founders Bilge Jacob Christiansen, who himself is a former Universal Robots employee, and Ebbe Overgaard Fuglsang. Both understand the challenges of existing robot accessories well.

“The traditional solutions in this field often work by using compressed air which takes up a lot of space, is energy intensive, and is too complicated for many users. With our collaborative gripper, we have developed an electronic solution that is easy to mount, is very flexible, and can be modified by an employee on the actual factory floor without the use of a programmer,” says Bilge Jacob Christiansen who expects that the company in the long term will extend the range to also be able to interact with other collaborative robots.

On Robot produces its grippers from its location in Odense, Denmark, and today works with 40 distributors worldwide. Due to rapidly growing demand, On Robot is currently looking for, among other positions, two new sales managers for respectively the American and the European markets. Similarly, the organization will be further strengthened with technical and production staff before year end.

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