Invert Robotics raises $8.8 million for inspection robots that cling to non-metallic surfaces

Robots that cling to hazardous chemical containment tanks may sound just like the stuff of science fiction, however Christchurch, New Zealand-based Invert Robotics — a spinout from the College of Canterbury’s College of Engineering — has been promoting them for near a decade. The corporate’s camera-equipped climbing machines can squeeze into areas too tight or hazardous for human staff and carry out every day inspections of kit in a spread of industries, together with meals and beverage, dairy, aviation, pharmaceutical, and oil and gasoline.

To put the groundwork for its subsequent section of development, Invert Robotics at this time introduced that it has raised $8.Eight million in a spherical of enterprise funding led by Finistere Ventures, with contributions from Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVSV) and present traders Allan Moss, Inception Asset Administration, and the New Zealand Enterprise Funding Fund. The recent capital brings its complete raised to roughly $15.9 million, in response to Crunchbase, and managing director Neil Fletcher mentioned it will likely be used to gas the startup’s growth to the U.S. and to additional develop its {hardware} platform.

“Our climbing robots go the place different robots can not and other people mustn’t,” mentioned Fletcher. “Distant inspection options that have in mind chemical corrosion and high-pressure processing eventualities can assist chemical corporations enhance employee security, optimize upkeep, and keep away from future tragedies … Finistere and Yamaha have already demonstrated an unbelievable quantity of information and keenness, and we stay up for tapping their deep technical and world assist infrastructures to assist us proceed to scale the corporate.”

Invert Robotics’ remotely piloted machines, which weigh about 5 kilos and transfer at a most velocity of 120 millimeters per second, use a know-how akin to suction cups to stay to non-magnetic surfaces resembling stainless-steel, carbon fiber, aluminum, and glass. Their adhesion mechanism doesn’t require a big vacuum pump, and it’s extremely power environment friendly — even with out energy, the robots will stay caught to surfaces “for a while.”

Invert Robotics

Along with camera-based surveillance (at 1080p and as much as 30 instances optical zoom), Invert Robotics’ robots can carry out in-depth scans to measure wall thickness, assess structural integrity, and determine defects utilizing surface-wave detection strategies and ultrasonic probes. Operators get a post-inspection evaluation report inside 72 hours.

“We give our prospects a better, safer and sooner option to examine the security and integrity of probably the most hazardous and poisonous environments,” mentioned Fletcher, including that the robots’ sensors can spot defects as small as 1/16 mm. “Industrial accidents will be expensive and typically even lethal, however they’re usually preventable.”

The corporate says it has already carried out over 1,000 inspections for “among the world’s largest” meals and beverage, dairy, aviation, pharmaceutical, oil and gasoline, and chemical corporations, together with seven of the highest 10 world dairy corporations.

“New Zealand has turn out to be a hotbed for groundbreaking corporations,” mentioned Dean Tilyard, who will be part of the Invert Robotics board of administrators as a part of the funding spherical, together with board observers Arama Kukutai (Finistere cofounder) and Craig Boshier (Yamaha Motor Ventures & Lab associate). “Innovators like Invert Robotics want to seek out related capital with robust worldwide networks to assist them scale globally. Finistere and Yamaha are superb funding companions for Invert to understand its full potential,” Tilyard mentioned.

Invert Robotics has workplaces “all through Europe,” along with its New Zealand headquarters.

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