Rockwell Automation to acquire Clearpath Robotics

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Milwaukee, USA: Rockwell Automation to acquire autonomous robotics company Clearpath Robotics based in Ontario, Canada.

Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Clearpath Robotics, a provider of autonomous robotics for industrial applications.

Founded in 2009, Clearpath started offering robotics technology to global research and development markets and launched its OTTO Motors Division in 2015.

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are the next frontier in industrial automation and transformation, and Clearpath Robotics’ acquisition will add new robotics capabilities to Rockwell’s technology offerings.

Clearpath’s OTTO Motors Division offers AMRs and fleet management and navigation software, which dramatically increase throughput and reduce costs by ensuring components and subassemblies are in place when needed and by transporting finished goods to a truck or warehouse upon completion.

Transporting parts and materials to assembly lines and between manufacturing cells is one of the industry’s most complex and inefficient tasks, often resulting in production bottlenecks. Autonomous production logistics will transform the workflow throughout a manufacturing plant, enabling substantial reductions in cost and greater operational efficiency.

AMR capabilities from Clearpath’s OTTO Motors Division combined with Rockwell’s strong continuing partnerships in fixed robotic arms, solutions such as Independent Cart Technology, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), will create a complete portfolio of advanced material handling solutions in the industry.

The market for AMRs in manufacturing is expected to grow about 30% per year over the next five years, with an estimated market size of $6.2 billion by 2027, according to Interact Analysis. The Clearpath acquisition is expected to contribute a percentage point to Rockwell’s fiscal 2024 revenue growth.

“Rockwell and Clearpath together will simplify the difficult and labour-intensive task of moving materials and product through an orchestrated and safe system to optimise operations throughout the entire manufacturing facility,” said Blake Moret, Chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation.

“The combination of autonomous robots and PLC-based line control has long been a dream of plant managers in industries as diverse as automotive and consumer packaged goods. With Clearpath, Rockwell is uniquely positioned to make that dream a reality across virtually all discrete and hybrid verticals, optimising planning, operations, and the workforce,” added Moret.

Data from Rockwell’s offerings and OTTO Motors’ AMRs will be harnessed in artificial intelligence-powered SaaS information management applications, such as those by Rockwell’s Plex and Fiix businesses.

With this, Rockwell will deliver a unified solution for manufacturing, enabling autonomous execution and optimization to increase efficiency and allow for traceability and real-time adjustments. The combined technology will also amplify Kalypso’s production logistics consulting practice.

“Industrial customers are under ever-increasing pressure to do more with less. Autonomous production logistics is becoming a necessity to meet targets and stay competitive. We are excited to join Rockwell and help expand their leadership position in advanced material handling,” said Matt Rendall, Co-Founder and CEO of Clearpath.

“Together, we will create safer and more productive workplaces with autonomous technology,” added Rendall.

Founded in 2009, Clearpath got its start offering robotics technology to global research and development markets, and in 2015, launched its OTTO Motors Division.

Rockwell will fund the Clearthpath acquisition from proceeds by selling a portion of its investment in PTC. The deal is subject to customary regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of Rockwell’s fiscal year 2024. At close, Clearpath will report to Rockwell’s Intelligent Devices operating segment. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as Rockwell’s financial advisor.

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