ROEQ celebrates 5 years!
ROEQ – Robotic Equipment was founded 5 years ago in 2017 – A milestone worth celebrating.
Here co-founders Michael Ejstrup Hansen and Benni Lund, and Partner Carsten Sørensen Partner, talk about how the company was started, its growth and ambitions for the future.
How did ROEQ start up?
We (Michael, Benni and Carsten), had worked together for many years in the same production and product development, consultancy company.
At the time, we were dealing mostly with medical devices, but we also had projects for companies within electronics and robotics.
In Spring 2016, we were given a consulting assignment by Mobile Industrial Robots, MiR. Here we saw the huge potential of producing standard, reliable robotic equipment for AMRs (autonomous mobile robots ) ….This started the ROEQ ball rolling.
What was your first ROEQ product?
We started with the ROEQ TMC300/TMR150/TML150 series with Carts and docking stations.
At that time, the only robot we worked with had a 100kg payload, but by using our equipment it was possible to carry up to 200 kg.
Soon after that a 200 kg payload robot come on the market and we could then offer a solution which could carry 300 kg.
Now we are working with solutions that can carry 1500 kg, and that limit is constantly moving – upwards.
And the first sales?
Our first sale was to one of our good partners in the UK. They bought a handful of ROEQ top modules along with a good number of carts and docking stations.
After that, we sold mainly to companies in North and Eastern Europe, but soon after exhibiting at our first tradeshow in Munich Germany, in the spring 2018, we made our first partnership in Northern America. As he told us at the trade show; “you have the equipment that I need for selling these mobile robots in the USA.”
Again, the ball is rolling, now with exports to USA.
His words, that ROEQ robotic equipment transforms a flat-platform-robot into a solution is still valid. The same applies today, as an AMR is first a useful solution with the right MRE (Mobile Robotic Equipment) mounted on top on it.
And that is the real strength of ROEQ, we have a wide range of equipment for mobile robots, that convert self-driving robots to SOLUTIONS.
What have been the significant highs?
There have been a lot of scheduled and non-scheduled milestones during the early days of ROEQ. During 2018 we started hiring people and building up departments. We also quickly gained new partners (distributers and integrators) and expanded to new markets faster than we’d initially expected.
Our product portfolio has grown continuously, driven by new and larger robots and more advanced features on the robots which have allowed for new MRE possibilities.
We started with the cart solutions, after that we launched the conveyor solutions and soon after that we developed lifter solution.
These core solutions have expanded with new products as we see more opportunities to optimize efficiency and safety with equipment for AMRs. An example is our award winning ROEQ GuardCom system, which was introduced to provide an easier, safer, and faster transfer between the AMR and ROEQ top rollers and a stationary conveyor. All in all, a more seamless integration with existing material handling systems at end user’s sites, which we are proud to see being deployed in production plants around the world.
As mentioned before, this business is in its early days – the potential is huge, and we will see a lot of new products and solutions in the near future. This applies for both hardware and software.
At ROEQ we have always aimed to be the best and most innovative within this field of solutions. Therefore, we have focused on high quality products, innovative solutions and most importantly, solutions that can fulfill regulations and standards for this kind of equipment. Regulations and standards can be an underestimated area for many, but we have invested in this from the start and today this is one of our key strengths when developing new products/solutions.
In 2020 we got a new partner onboard at ROEQ. The driving factor for that decision was to enable us to scale up even faster than we did from 2017-2020, as the potential for our solutions continued to be strongly confirmed.
We teamed up with an Equity Fond – Vækst Partner Kapital (VPK). Together with VPK and the Board of Directors we have been able to set the strategy to be a leading brand within Mobile Robotic Equipment (MRE) worldwide, and with a solid and constantly growing team of employees and dedicated partners our strategies can be carried out.
What learnings have there been?
For a constantly growing company like ROEQ, it is important to always be looking forward and to consider how we should build and expand, so that everything is scalable. When we implemented an ERP system, in the early days of the company, it seemed like a perhaps too early investment. However, now where most of our commercial infrastructure is handled by one single system, we are happy that we took that decision so early. Without that, we would still be working with a lot of spreadsheets which is not scalable as the company expands.
Other learnings or maybe more a confirmation is regarding quality.
We, the founders of ROEQ, have valuable experience within the field of medical devices. This is where our high demand for quality and compliance has come, which we have taken with us into ROEQ. This focus on quality is one of the fundamentals for ROEQ success.
What for the future?
The trajectory that we are on, is exciting.
We are operating within a field that is developing fast and we are playing a key part in this development of relevant applications. At the start, the focus was on hardware such as top modules and conveyors, but now the focus is on solutions which include hardware, software and cloud-based solutions.
We are in the early days of the AMR implementation and ROEQ have and will set the scene for MRE (Mobile Robotic Equipment) applications for a wide range of mobile robotics platforms.