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The technology company Voith and the Munich-based robotics company Franka Emika have entered into a strategic partnership. Voith Robotics is a Voith and Franka Emika joint venture in which Voith
holds a majority stake. The aim of the company is to become a global system provider for the very latest generation of lightweight robots. It will also offer associated software solutions, apps, services and process consulting in addition to the robot itself.
Voith contributes its process and industry know-how and its global sales and service network with international sites to the joint venture. Voith Robotics will not only sell robots, it will also become a system provider for the very latest generation of lightweight robots – and this will involve developing and offering associated software solutions, apps, services and process consulting.
The company, with headquarters in Munich, is to become a global system supplier for robot-assisted automation in the digital age. Voith Robotics will offer self-teaching lightweight robots made by Franka Emika, along with software solutions, apps, services and process consulting, to customers in various industries and markets throughout the world.
As part of the strategic partnership Voith will also have a direct stake in Franka Emika, thus emphasizing the long-term and strategic commitment by the two companies to cooperation. Martin Scherrer, formerly a member of the Board of Management of Voith Paper, will be the new chief executive officer of Voith Robotics, which is to be managed by Voith.
The still very young market for collaborative robots, also called cobots, currently has a volume of some 300 million euros and is predicted by industry researchers to grow exponentially in the coming years. The global market volume is expected to come to about 15 billion euros by 2025. Franka Emika is a leading designer and developer of powerful, self-teaching and easy-to-use lightweight robots. They will make it possible for the first time to automate repetitive and often monotonous tasks like finely controlled fitting, screwing and joining, as well as testing, inspection and assembly.
In 2017, the team from Franka Emika received the German Award for Innovation in Science and Technology from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for developing “Panda”, the first highly sensitive, self-teaching lightweight robot. In addition to being applied in industry, these robots may someday assist people in their everyday lives or help with tasks like elder care. The robot series “Panda”, in combination with robot apps and customized services, will be the future core products of Voith Robotics. The company will also offer platform- and manufacturer-independent robotics and automation solutions.
The new joint venture will be presented to the public for the first time at Hannover Messe.