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by   -   June 15, 2014

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120,000 robotics patents have been published in the last 10 years, tripling in rate from 2004 to 2013, according to the UK Intellectual Property Office Informatics Team. Unsurprisingly, there was a huge drop in robotics patent applications in 2009-2010, although not all industries were as affected by the global financial crisis as robotics was. The preeminent country for robotics patents is Japan with 31% of patents published, the majority from Toyota. The US is in second place with 19%, followed by Germany (17%), China (10%), Korea (9%), France (3%) and UK at only (2%). Of course this is only an indication of the innovation activity occurring as some countries have greater propensity to patent than others.

by   -   July 19, 2013

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This industrial mixing system, developed by OMC, uses a multi-axis robot from Nachi.

In contrast with conventional mixing systems that rotate the container along two axes, using this multi-axis multi-directional robot enhances the stirring effect, mixing and dispersing materials in a shorter amount of time.

The mixing capacity is dependent on which robot is used, with a maximum capacity of around 700kg.

by   -   June 20, 2013

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Lands Work, a manufacturer of tofu-making machinery, has developed a robot that can pick up very soft foods such as tofu.

“First, the robot checks which way the tofu is facing, and how big it is, using a camera. The images are analyzed by a computer, and the robot works out which way to orient the tofu. Once it picks the tofu up, it then puts it in a package. A feature of this robot is the hand, which can gently carry very soft, fragile things without damaging them. This hand uses a special surface processing, which was developed by our company.”

by   -   May 13, 2013

ROS-I_Puzzle_GraphicLRROS-I is developing and promoting a manufacturer-independent open-source library of drivers and the transfer of established components from research to industry – not just h/w interfaces and MS, IOS and Android support, but legal and standardization issues as well.

by   -   March 8, 2013

FoxbotsIlian Bonev, a robotics prof at the ÉTS in Quebec, blogged “The truth about Foxconns Foxbot industrial robots,” and included a 2008 Foxbot brochure which shows the specs for their entire robotics product line. Also included is a video showing a row of Foxbots handling, grinding and sanding what appears to be iPad back covers.

by   -   February 21, 2013

Before I start bashing bankers, I’d like to congratulate the ExOne Company on a successful initial public offering (IPO).  I haven’t seen much about ExOne [NASDAQ:XONE] on the robotics sites, but if we’re calling Stratasys [NASDAQ:SSYS] a robotics company, we should call ExOne a robotics company.  It is wonderful to see another company in our industry succeeding and listing their stock in the public markets.  Hopefully, this will encourage more investment of both capital and entrepreneurial energy in our industry.

Last time I checked 26 is a lot more than 18.

Last time I checked 26 is a lot more than 18.

[Image Source:  Google Finance]

By the criteria of the market commentators, the ExOne IPO was a huge success.  You can Google things like “3D printing red hot.”  The IPO was priced at $18, at the top of the range $16-18, it opened around $26 before shooting up over $33.  Almost a week later it is trading roughly at its opening price.

Now this is all fine and dandy as far as it goes, unless you were an ExOne shareholder.  One shareholder sold 300,000 shares in the IPO.  This shareholder transferred a gain of $2.4M to some connections of the underwriters–great if you know the underwriters, not so great if you’ve built the company from nothing.  This shareholder is getting $5.4M, less fees and discounts–call it $5M–from the IPO, so $2.4 is not exactly a rounding error.  Presumably, this shareholder is also more inclined to build companies with the capital than whatever speculators are hovering around the IPO.  Similarly, the company lost out on $40M of capital that could be invested in projects.  Think about that!  The company is worth less than $350M and the IPO mis-pricing cost it $40M of cash.  Cash!  That is cash that could be invested to grow the company and make even more money.

I’m not familiar with the track records of FBRBB&T, and Stephens, the underwriters for the ExOne IPO, but I’d think twice or three times about hiring them if I was making an initial offering.  They seem to have not only underpriced the IPO, but also floated too much of the company–almost 40%.  Underpricing the IPO might be tolerable if the bankers had only floated 5-10% of the company.  To raise additional capital, the company could have done a secondary offering once the stock had a well established market price instead of getting ripped off during the IPO.  However, the large offering certainly did do one good thing for the bankers: it increased the underwriting fee.

It is hard to explain an IPO price that is so far below the fair market value of the company.  There are a lot reasons why bankers and even executives try to justify under pricing an IPO, but giving-up over 10% of the firm’s market value in a single transaction is really hard to justify no matter what.  Some small part of the economic gains from listing publicly could be given to financial intermediaries and incoming investors to get a deal done, but giving up more than 10% of the company is excessive.  These new shareholders have no restrictions on ownership and are quite likely to flip their shares instead of taking an active roll in growing the company, which seems to further erode any claim they might have to extraordinary gains.

If my company ever goes public, I hope I’ll have the good sense to hire Morgan Stanley–because unless an underwriter is involved in litigation for overpricing an IPO, how can you be sure they’re any good?  Heck, they even give discounts.  What’s not to like?

UPDATE:  This post is adapted from the original posted on robocosmist.com following the ExOne IPO.  At market close on March 4th, a bit less than a month after the IPO, ExOne shares were priced at $27.26–more than 51% over the IPO price and very close to the opening price.

by   -   February 5, 2013

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The Argo project, which has deployed a network of more than 3’600 robots covering all of the world’s oceans, has returned it’s 1’000’000th measurement.

by   -   January 24, 2013

iRobot Corporation and Rayheon BBN Technologies Corp. have filed a US patent entitled “Robotic Fabricator“, a completely autonomous all-in-one product fabrication robot that handles manufacturing (including 3D printing) and all the post printing work from seed component to mature product.