Amazon continues to build up its robotics capabilities through a series of acquisitions, this time buying, Cloostermans, a Belgian company that makes robotics technology used in warehouses. The deal will allow Amazon to expand its industrial warehouse capabilities.
Amazon started working with Cloostermans in 2019. The company has been using Cloostermans’ robotics technology to help move and stack heavy palettes and goods, as well as package products together for delivery.
Amazon hasn’t disclosed to the public the financial term of the deal. But one thing is for sure here, Amazon will likely be planning more warehouse robotics projects in the coming years. The main goal of the big robotics play is to meet the demands of its ever-expanding ecommerce operations and avoid business disruption.
The US tech giant has been busy beefing up its robotics business, investing in robotics technology, and launching new machines to make its warehouse safer for employees. In June, the company introduced the first fully autonomous mobile robot Proteus, a package ferrying mobile machine. The company also expanding its robotics work in Europe by opening a new robotics lab in Italy and new R&D facilities in Germany.
According to Vox, which recently published a story about Amazon’s workforce, the ecommerce giant is facing a major shortage of workers in its warehouses, and the Vox report suggested that further automation or the use of robotics technology could be the most effective way to address that manpower crisis. Acquisitions, like this latest Cloostermans deal, and massive investment on robotics technology would fit into that strategy.
Founded in 1884, and based in Belgium, Cloostermans started as a repair shop for textile companies and went on to build industrial warehouse machines for big customers such as Amazon. As part of the deal, Cloostermans’ team of roughly 200 employees will join the tech giant’s robotics business, Amazon Robotics, which focused on automating aspects of the company’s warehouse operations. Amazon Robotics was formed after the tech giant acquired Kiva Systems, a leading manufacturer of warehouse robots.