Danish Robot Company Blue Workforce Expands in Asia

In the News
March 27, 2017

Blue Workforce A/S, a Danish robot company making a lightweight industrial robot for pick-and-place operations, has received funding from a Chinese investor.

The investor, which declined to be named, is also becoming Blue Workforce’s Asian partner.

Hong Kong-based Blue Workforce Robotics (Asia Pacific) Co. will quadruple production capacity within a year. The new business partner has more than 20 years of experience with multinational robotics and software automation.

The capital injection — not specified, but in the double-digit millions of Danish krone — will be used to streamline Blue Workforce and strengthen its sales promotions worldwide, said founder and CEO Preben Hjørnet.

“The new joint venture will provide additional engineering capabilities to supplement our Danish engineering team,” he said. “It is an entirely new channel to penetrate the market throughout greater China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.”

“Blue Workforce’s Ragnar solution is perfectly aligned to meet the needs of the emerging market for automatic handling and packaging solutions in China and throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” said Hai Chang, a board member of Blue Workforce Robotics. “Their complete go-to-market strategy and business model specifically target the factories that seek to utilize robots for handling materials with easy deployments, greater affordability, and lower production costs.”

“We believe our clients will appreciate their innovative and scalable robotic platform,” he told Robotics Business Review. “It breaks down the entry barriers to reliable automation solutions, and factories get a greater value out of their investments because they don’t have to pay for any unnecessary performance or features.”

Business Takeaways:

  • As the global market for cobots continues to grow, so are the Danish robot companies offering them for multiple material handling uses.
  • Blue Workforce’s strategic partnerships and acquisitions are intended to help it scale up production and marketing for its Ragnar robot and Coppelia Robotics’ V-REP simulation and planning tool.
  • The appeal of cobots lies in their affordability, ability to be easily replaced or moved as needed, and their relative safety to work alongside humans.

Global expansion

“We’re extremely excited with our expanding global footprint through our upcoming Asian joint-venture operations,” said Hjørnet, who remains leader of the merged companies. “We share the vision and a great synergy in technology and product development, market penetration, and operational productivity.”

Blue Workforce also recently acquired Switzerland-based Coppelia Robotics GmbH, which produces the V-REP simulation tool.

Coppelia Robotics’ 3D simulation, developed by Mark Freese, includes machine vision, data collection, the robotic frame, and gripper technology. The modular simulation is intended to allow each customer to build its ideal configuration.

Ragnar comes with this software and is intended to meet emerging Industry 4.0 standards, according to Blue Workforce.

Danish robot makers pursue cobot market

After Universal Robots A/S and Mobile Industrial Robots ApS (MiR), Blue Workforce is the third Danish robot maker entering the global market for collaborative robots. The market for so-called cobots — which don’t require fenced workcells and can operate alongside humans — will grow to $3.3 billion by...

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