Award earns Robotics Plus Global Top 50 ranking

Wednesday 24 Jun 2020

World-first log scaling robot earns Kiwis a Global Top 50 ranking - Tauranga-based agricultural robotics and automation company Robotics Plus has been named a Global Top 50 Robotics Company for its industry-changing Robotic Scaling Machine (RSM) which automates the accurate volumetric measurement (scaling) of logs on trucks and trailers, replacing manual measurement.

The world-first robotic innovation scans and measures export logs on trucks has landed its Kiwi developers on the 2020 RBR50, Robotics Business Review's prestigious global list recognising the 50 most innovative and transformative robotics companies of the year.

Commercially launched in June 2019, the technology was developed in collaboration with Mount Maunganui-based ISO Limited, which commissioned the first RSM for its facility at the Port of Tauranga and has had it in operation since November 2018. ISO now has eight robots installed across the North Island scaling more than 25% of New Zealand's 20 million cubic metres of annual log exports. Further installations are planned around the country in 2020.

Dr Alistair Scarfe, Co-Founder and CTO of Robotics Plus, led the RSM technology development. "It's really exciting to be recognised alongside some of the biggest and best-known robotics, software and automation companies in the world including Boston Dynamics, ABB Robotics, Yasakawa Motoman, Nvidia, SICK and Microsoft," he says.

Dr Matt Glenn CEO of Robotics Plus, says: "This award validates our collaborative approach to innovation. Our team worked incredibly hard to design and build this world-first log scaling robot in just 12 months by working closely with ISO and a number of other local manufacturing suppliers."

Paul Cameron, CEO of ISO says the automated process is already having a significant impact as it is a safer, efficient and more productive system than the previous manual system used throughout the world, which requires people to hand scan the logs by climbing between trucks and trailers.

"The Robotic Scaling Machine can automatically scan logs on a truck in 3 to 4 minutes, which compares up to 40 minutes for manual measurement using a ruler. Importantly, it also eliminates exposure to hazards and moves those people into a safer environment and into more skilled roles."

Mr Cameron says ISO will continue to invest in the robotic technology as it has a clear payback for the company as well as the forestry industry. "We are delivering safer and more efficient systems which improve productivity across the forestry supply chain."

Steve Saunders, Co-Founder and Chairman of Robotics Plus, says it's fantastic to see New Zealand's world- class robotics capability being recognised on the international stage.

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