Rockwell Automation focuses on autonomous robotics and acquires Clearpath Robotics

End-to-end solutions for autonomous production logistics ensure more efficient production conditions

Rockwell has signed an acquisition agreement with Clearpath Robotics

Rockwell Automation has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Clearpath Robotics, a Canadian manufacturer of autonomous robotics for industrial applications. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are the next step in industrial automation and transformation. The acquisition further expands Rockwell's position in realizing the Connected Enterprise. Transporting production parts and materials to assembly lines and between manufacturing points is one of the most complex, often inefficient tasks in industry, and one that not infrequently leads to production bottlenecks. Autonomous production logistics therefore transforms workflows throughout the plant, enabling significant cost reductions and greater operational efficiency.

Clearpath's Otto Motors division offers AMRs and fleet management and navigation software. These significantly increase throughput. They also reduce costs by ensuring components and subassemblies are in place when they are needed. Furthermore, they transport finished goods to the truck or warehouse upon completion. Combined with Rockwell's partnerships in stationary robotic arms, solutions such as Independent Cart Technology and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), the addition of Otto Motors' AMR capabilities creates a complete portfolio of material handling solutions.

Strategic importance of AMR in manufacturing for Rockwell Automation

According to Interact Analysis, the market for AMRs in manufacturing is expected to grow by approximately 30 percent per year over the next five years, reaching an estimated $6.2 billion by 2027. This acquisition is expected to contribute one percentage point to Rockwell's 2024 revenue growth. “Rockwell and Clearpath together will simplify the difficult and labor-intensive task of moving materials and product through an orchestrated and safe system to optimize operations throughout the entire manufacturing facility,” said Blake Moret, Chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation. “The combination of autonomous robots and PLC-based line control has long been a dream of plant managers in industries as diverse as automotive and consumer packaged goods. With Clearpath, Rockwell is uniquely positioned to make that dream a reality across virtually all discrete and hybrid verticals, optimizing planning, operations, and the workforce.”

Software-as-a-service applications for information management

Data from Rockwell's offerings and AMRs will be used in software-as-a-service information management applications based on artificial intelligence, such as those from Rockwell companies Plex and Fiix. This allows Rockwell to offer a unified solution for manufacturing. This will enable autonomous execution and optimization to increase efficiency and grant real-time traceability and adjustments. The combined technology will also expand Kalypso's manufacturing logistics consulting practice.

More productive workplaces through autonomous technology

“Industrial customers are under ever-increasing pressure to do more with less. Autonomous production logistics is becoming a necessity to meet targets and stay competitive. We are excited to join Rockwell and help expand their leadership position in advanced material handling,” said Matt Rendall, co-founder and CEO of Clearpath. “Together, we will create safer and more productive workplaces with autonomous technology.” Founded in 2009, Clearpath began providing robotics technology to global research and development markets and launched its Otto Motors division in 2015. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2024. Upon completion of the transaction, Clearpath will be integrated into Rockwell's Intelligent Devices business segment.