Polish robotics to replace picking
When George C. Devol, an inventor from Kentucky, created the first modern robot in 1954, industry didn’t buy it. Now, robotics is one of the fastest-growing industries globally. Most robots today are used to put things together and perform repetitive actions, or to do jobs too dangerous for humans. But their reach is expanding quickly.
Most human-hand tasks in modern warehouses involve “picking”. That is, collecting products from one box and putting them into another box. As tedious as it might seem, this has to be done by humans because most modern robots lack the simple ability to properly identify items in a container when hundreds of thousands of potentially different items are involved. Nomagic tackles this issue by providing AI-based software for standard robotic arms that allow these robots to handle a wide range of products.
Deep neural networks set Nomagic’s software apart. “It allows the robot to operate autonomously with little supervision and to accumulate knowledge on how to handle a specific item that is instantly transferred to all other robots in the warehouse,” says Philippe Hoett, Senior Equity Investment Officer at the European Investment Bank (EIB), which lent to Nomagic in November.
Nomagic robots can pick, inspect, analyse and place products, reproducing repetitive and tedious tasks traditionally performed by warehouse operators. “We combine our proprietary neural networks for autonomous actions, our cloud robotics platform for remote monitoring and control, and our hardware, which is well adapted to a large set of product and actions,” says Cygan, who is Nomagic’s chief technology officer. “This combination gives the project a powerful impact.”
Advantages of deep neural networks:
- Best results with unstructured data like texts, pictures, and more
- No need for labelling of data
- Efficient at delivering high-quality results
- Elimination of unnecessary direct costs
- It is highly scalable due to its ability to process massive amounts of data
Guarantee for Polish robotics
Nomagic is the first European Investment Bank venture debt project in Poland under the Pan-European Guarantee Fund, a financing product designed by the EIB Group to shield small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. SMEs such as Nomagic suffer a lack of financing options for growth investment— difficulties that have increased with the pandemic. “Quickly, we realised we needed help,” says Nowicki, Nomagic’s chief executive. “The EIB was able to support the R&D required to build an innovative product in Europe. It is a great addition to the private capital invested in Nomagic.”
The European Guarantee Fund aims to use up to €25 billion in guarantees provided by contributing EU member states to spur as much as €200 billion in financing by the end of 2021. The Guarantee Fund “allows the Bank to increase its risk-taking capacity and to lend to companies affected by Covid-19,” says Hoett, the investment officer.
With its loan from the guarantee fund, Nomagic can focus on research and development and scale up its project—without having to worry about the impact of the pandemic on its business. “We are very happy that with the EIB,” says Nowicki, “we can continue to fund our research and build this innovative technology in Europe.