This company is helping auto manufacturers' robots find the right part - Technical.ly DC

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Mar. 20, 2018 8:27 am

This company is helping auto manufacturers’ robots find the right part

Silver Spring–based Robotic VISION Technologies raised $10.5 million, and is eying a wider push.

Robotic VISION Technologies helps the arms see.

(Still via YouTube)

An eight-year-old Silver Spring, Md. company that makes software guiding robots to perform tasks on manufacturing floors is getting ready to be more widely seen.

Robotic VISION Technologies announced $10.5 million in new funding from a mix of internal and outside investors earlier this month. The company has mostly been focused on developing its technology. With the funding, the company is ready to ramp up in sales and marketing efforts.

According to CEO Rick Weidinger, the 12-employee company is already working with automotive giants, and Ford Motor Company is its largest client. The company specializes in “vision-guided robotics,” which can set out processes for a robotic arm to locate a part or move a part from one place to another.

“Manufacturers use guidance to solve one major flavor of problem: they cannot be certain a part is in the exact same place every single time, so they deploy vision to find it,” Weidinger said in response to emailed questions. “If they are uncertain of a part’s location, they risk destroying equipment or introducing defects or stoppages on the line. Manufacturers have different reasons why the part’s location may be uncertain, but they all use VGR to perform this same job.”

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The applications go beyond automotive manufacturers to other industries such as medical and consumer goods.

“RVT and its technology are poised to transform the way robots function in multiple markets,” said Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Services, who was named as an investor in a press release announcing the funding. “Their innovations in how machines perceive and respond to their environments are exactly what customers are looking for as they develop the next generation of equipment and end user products.”

Edelman was the lone investor named, but the release states other backing came from funds based in Silicon Valley, Northern Virginia, Canada and Germany.

The company acquired the technology from a Canadian company and launched in 2010, and has further developed the platform. Recently, the company was granted four patents, and filed for 14 more.

To be successful, Weidinger said the company needs to “offer a solution that performs for the customers the desired outcome (ie, finding a parts location) in a way that is performance driven, cost-effective, and reliable. Manufacturers are typically risk-averse, so the solution needs to be trusted and provide enough of a process breakthrough to prove an ROI. Patents certainly contribute to our ability to offer this,” Weidinger said.

IP isn’t the only key, however. Another is to be a company that “can distribute and support the solution so that adoption is straightforward and addresses the particular customers buying process and expectations,” Weidinger said.

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