Here Michael E. Hansen CEO at ROEQ reflects about 2022 and shares his thoughts about changes in the automation industry and expected trends in 2023.
What have been your main take outs and reflections of 2022 both for the industry and for ROEQ?
2022 was an unpredictable year! It started with increased optimism as the world gradually normalized after the Covid epidemic and then came the invasion of Ukraine, which effectively halted business investment, as companies waited to see what effect this would have.
The second half of the year was more positive for the automation industry, as suppliers were able to meet customers again, trade shows started up, and companies began to put their planed logistics automation programs back into action.
We also witnessed a maturing of the AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot) and MRE (Mobile Robotic Equipment) market. Where a few years ago companies were trialing and testing the benefits of AMR solutions, last year we saw applications rolling out on a bigger scale within and across workplaces.
For ROEQ, 2022 was a milestone year. We celebrated 5 years of developing and supplying robotic equipment, and we took the next step in our company’s journey by broadening the AMR brands that ROEQ collaborates with. After 5 years of supplying robotic equipment that works with MiR robots, we announced the launch of products that work with other AMR brands, notably OMRON and Continental. We are very pleased and proud to have a strong collaboration with all three AMR brands and are excited about the potential that this will bring.
What do you think will be the key automation trends in 2023/24?
With increased confidence and demand for automation with mobile robots, comes more innovation as new application needs are identified.
A dynamic that I believe we will see in 2023 is an increased move to integrated solutions. It is, of course, important that products work well and effectively together e.g. the ROEQ solution interacts seamlessly with the AMR for safe and efficient automation of a task. However, I predict that 2023/24 will be the year when we will see the added value of e.g. top modules that can interface with other accessories and software platforms. With this function, production and warehouse facilities will be able to better track goods through the logistics journey.
That sounds interesting can you explain more?
An example is that currently goods on an AMR are not “visible” in e.g. the Warehouse Management System (WMS). This is a value adding opportunity that the team at ROEQ is looking to address. We anticipate sharing more later this year.
A second trend that we are hearing more about is Interoperability. For the AMR sector, this is driven by a workplace wish to use several AMR brands in the same overall fleet system. In the case of ROEQ this means solutions that work on different AMRs and top modules that communicate directly to General Fleet Management systems.
A third trend that we at ROEQ are already very focused on is the importance of software. Hardware needs to be designed to be safe and durable, but smart software really adds value for the integrators – saving time and ensuring consistent set ups – and the end user who benefit from a consistent and easy to use interface.
What are you looking forward to for ROEQ in 2023?
I feel that 2023 will be a very positive year for the industry with many innovations, emerging trends and strong projected growth. I see that ROEQ can play an important part of this with the strategic plans and new solutions that we have mapped out for the year.
ROEQ has a very strong range of tried and tested solutions for MiR robots and we look forward to working together with our Partners around the world to see these implemented into more and larger applications. With lifters, carts and roller/ conveyor solutions developed for all MiR robot sizes and with the value added of ROEQ Safety and ROEQ Assist software I feel that 2023 is the year that we will realize strong sales of the innovative ROEQ/MiR solutions that have been launched over the last two years.
I’m also looking forward to introducing more solutions that can be used on other quality AMRs, notably the established OMRON brand and the exciting new-comer Continental. In the coming year we will launch several of our platform products for these robots. This will result in more tested and proven solutions for the benefit of end customers. This is an exciting opportunity and part of the ROEQ longer strategic journey.
Finally, I’m thrilled to announce that ROEQ software will be extended in 2023. The value and benefits that ROEQ Assist software brings the integrator when setting up the solutions is being well recognized, so I can’t wait to realize our exciting plans to build on this knowledge and bring even more benefits….exactly what these are you will need to wait and see 😉.
Where can customers see ROEQ in 2023?
ROEQ will have stands at LogiMAT, Stuttgart 25-27th April and also at Automate, Detroit in 22-25th May. The team and I are looking forward to meeting our partners, system integrators and end customers at these events. It is a chance to connect and understand the needs in the market as well as of course showcase our latest products and application solutions.
Over and above these two events, ROEQ Partners around the world will be exhibiting – keep an eye on our events calendar to see where and when.