French autonomous mobile robot (AMR) designer and manufacturer iFollow has announced its entry into the UK intralogistics market and secured a contract with a major UK grocery retailer.
Designed for heavy load transportation in the industrial and logistics sectors, iFollow AMRs can carry two roll cages at once in cold stores and ambient warehouses in temperatures from -25°C to 40°C without degradation of battery life.
The company’s robots are covered by five international patents and are built to withstand travelling on rough floors. Using a combination of camera and QR-code navigation, the AMRs can transport loads of up to 1,000kg for applications such as goods receiving, despatch and order picking.
Each robot has a battery life of 16 hours and uses opportune charging to maximise uptime, with a full charge from 10% to 100% taking 90 minutes.
At 17cm high, iFollow AMRs are designed to offer movement in cramped environments and transport different storage units such as pallets and trolleys, as well as roll cages. According to iFollow, this reportedly contributes to an increase in operational productivity of between 28% and 42.5%.
“With labour shortages being a major challenge, the ability of iFollow robots to transport two roll cages at once will clearly transform the operational performance of grocery distribution centres,” said Frazer Watson, UK and Ireland country manager at iFollow.
“Designing and manufacturing our own robots and using our own software allows us to tailor solutions to meet the needs of individual applications.
“Intelligent robots offer a flexible solution that can be easily adapted to changing needs, which makes iFollow’s technology ideal for supporting post-covid era grocery warehouse operations, which are facing demands for ever-shorter delivery times from growing e-commerce channels as well as store orders.”
As previously reported by Robotics & Innovation, iFollow, which exhibited at Robotics and Automation exhibition earlier this month, recently raised €7.5m (£6.4m) in funding led by Supernova Invest, alongside Socadif – taking over from historical seed investors Axeleo Capital and NCI Waterstart, with the support of BPI France.
The latest round of funding allows iFollow to expand its assembly line, currently based in Gentilly, France. Production is planned to increase tenfold to reach 1,500 robots manufactured per year. With over 100 robots already operational, iFollow is aiming to deliver at least 500 new AMRs in 2022.
The iFollow team, which was previously focused on R&D, comprises about 40 employees. The team will be gradually strengthened to reach 80 employees within 18 months with new strategic areas to include: deployment, maintenance, logistics, and marketing.