Teradyne is a company that tests equipment for industrial applications, from semiconductors, wireless systems, collaborative robots, defense and aerospace mechanisms, and beyond. They also test autonomous mobile robots, and they have augmented their fleet of robots by acquiring Danish robotics producer Mobile Industrial Robots, or MiR, in a deal that could ultimately net MiR $272 million.
The endgame is for Teradyne to help facilitate the global expansion of MiR’s warehouse-oriented robots. The deal is broken down into two parts; $148 million for the base acquisition price, and $124 million in performance bonuses that are contingent upon Teradyne and MiR’s ability to expand their line of wheeled autonomous machines. It’s an impressive haul for MiR considering that their revenues for 2017 reached a personal high-water mark of $12 million.
That success was based largely on critical praise of the MiR 200, a compact autonomous vehicle which MiR markets as facilitating the change in how ‘businesses move materials inside their facilities.’ The MiR 200 can transport up to 440 pounds, can be customized to include top modules such as bins, racks, lifts, conveyors, and even a robot arm, and has a proven track record of safe maneuverability which allows it to operate in conjunction with humans in the warehouse setting using advanced sensor technology.
While there are high hopes for the future of autonomous robotics, MiR has already established a foothold and is oriented toward what is perhaps the field with the most immediate potential for the incorporation of robotics; the warehouse. Clearly, Teradyne recognizes the immense potential which will arise from injecting capital and resources into a company with an established fleet of warehouse-tailored autonomous machines, with the rise of e-commerce increasing the ubiquity and necessity for warehouses which are constantly moving inventory in and out of its confines.
Teradyne is on a bit of a robotics spending spree, having purchased robotic arm maker Universal Robots for $350 million in 2015. The MiR products, like those produced by Universal Robots, are known for ease of retraining for different purposes, making them not only safe to use and highly capable, but dynamic.
With the MiR team reporting that its revenue growth in 2017 of 300% was due largely to satisfied purchasers returning to acquire larger fleets after trying out a smaller contingent of MiR products, it’s clear that the company is trending upward. Shrewdly, Teradyne pounced, landing a deal that will most likely benefit both MiR and Teradyne in the coming years.