Konica Minolta, the Japanese tech giant best known for office equipment, looks to be increasing its activities in the robotics sector.
Konica claims to be one of the first companies to commercialise automated solutions for business, and also says it’s been making “ground-breaking strides” within robotics through proprietary technology.
But it doesn’t seem to have launched a robot of its own. Rather, what it has done is partnered with a range of companies which are developing robotics solutions for a wide variety of settings.
The company says its new initiatives include a high-tech, IoT-enabled security camera and a new line of service robots, which seem to have been launched in Asia, although we haven’t received pictures of them.
Among the robotics companies it has partnered with are Savioke (robot pictured above), Mobotix, MiR, and Knightscope.
Mostly Konica seems to be providing internet of things platforms and other tech to these companies, including some financial investment.
In the latest development, Konica seems to have launched mobile robots based on the MiR platform.
The machine can tow a load of up to 500 kg, says Konica, which adds that the applications for the robot include moving manufacturing materials, heavy-duty goods, hospital items, and food.
It can also navigate complex environments safely across with built-in sensors, cameras and software.
“With digital transformation driving the business landscape of today, significantly improving efficiency through optimised workflows and increased connectivity is the key to driving growth and creating value for any business,” said Jonathan Yeo, general manager for Konica Minolta in Asia.
He added: “We are managing more data over the Internet of things. We use this to our advantage to not only provide seamless workflows for customers, but also improved security measures, demonstrating our commitment to deliver tomorrow’s products and solutions that the industry is looking for today.”
Previously, Konica had partnered with Savioke, which makes robots for hotels, providing room service.
At the time of that deal, Ekta Sahasi, vice president of Konica’s business innovation center, said: “The global robotics industry is large and fast-growing market and we are aggressively pursuing key strategic partnerships and investments in this space.
“Our partnership with Savioke enables us to extend our global services capabilities and distribution experience and positions us well to be a value added provider in this emerging ecosystem.”
Steve Cousins, CEO of Savioke, said: “In Konica Minolta, we gain a partner with a full spectrum of award-winning services infrastructure, capabilities, global reach and scale.
“Our entry into service-intensive sectors such as hotels, hospitals and elder care facilities demands that we partner with proven leaders in these markets.”