The Ronavi Company was founded in 2014. At that time there was no global market of logistic robots, however, Amazon, one of the biggest online retailers, had already bought a $775 million startup producing logistic robot systems and opened Amazon Robotics, a new division that started making machines intended to be used specifically in the warehouses of this giant company.
‘The thing is that development of robotic warehouses significantly cuts the costs in the expansive segment of online trade, for example, those of lighting, heating or air-conditioning. People no longer have to engage in dumb and tedious warehouse activities. The storage of goods becomes more compact, which expands the storage capacity 3-5 times. Besides, global online trade has reached such a rate of growth that the old logistic infrastructure can no longer cater for the current needs. And we figured that all Russian and global supermarket chains, starting from Magnit to Alibaba, will soon form the market for such robotic systems. It prompted us to start works on our own autonomous robot system,’ says Denis Kovalevich, Director General of the TechnoSpark Group of Companies.
At the first stage of making the Russian robot, a team of designers and engineers determined the basic industrial look of the future machine.
‘We agreed that the first Ronavi robot would have a loading capacity of 1.5 tons to carry Russian pallets that hold the load of up to 1.4 tons. A serial robot with a smaller capacity, similar to that used by Amazon for 300 kilos, will be brought to the market next year,’ clarifies Denis Kovalevich.
In the course of four years since that time, Ronavi Robotics, that employs Russian and European specialists, devised its own autonomous robotic platform to be used in warehouses of any size. The Russian logistic robot can carry a weight of up to 1.5 tons around the warehouse territory at a maximum speed of 5 km/h, moving about by means of special tags. Ronavi Robotics machines can recharge their batteries by themselves, and they can be integrated into one network with an unlimited number of robots.
The software embedded in the robot is a 100 % domestic product. The machine goes with a year warranty. Throughout the 10 years of its operation, the robot will require two battery replacements and one wheelset change.
The first series of Ronavi robots is currently in production. The machines will be available for sale in Russia this summer, and in the Netherlands — in mid autumn. In the spring of 2019, TechnoSpark exposed Ronavi to foreign investment, inviting venture and corporate funds, as well as strategic investors, to participate in the capital of the high-tech company.
According to Mr. Kovalevich, today Ronavi is simultaneously developing in three technological directions.
‘First of all, we are completing engineering work and starting a serial production of our robot on two industrial platforms — in Troitsk (Moscow) and Eindhoven (Netherlands) using facilities of VDL ETG, one of the largest European engineering companies. In Russia, we will have a serial production of machines for our domestic market and China, whereas in the Netherlands — for European market. Secondly, we are finalising the debugging works on the software of the robot and its test driving over thousand of hours in the automatic mode. Thirdly, we are designing a robot with a loading capacity of 300 kg, a more compact, space-saving and affordable version of the first machine,’ says Mr. Kovalevich.
One of the key competitive advantages of the Ronavi robot is its price. The cheapest counterparts made by the world’s leading manufacturers cost 25,000 euros, whereas the Russian robot costs 1.5 million roubles (20,000 euros).
‘Our task is to keep bringing the selling prices of robots down. This task is shared by both Russian and Dutch manufacturers. However, a serious reduction in robot prices can be expected when the new warehousing and logistics platform starts inexorably replacing the old one everywhere in the world, including Russia. Whereas this process has been evolving in the USA in the last five years, in Russia it is only starting. As the industry continues to grow, the prices for the machines will keep decreasing,’ says the Director General of TechnoSpark.
Ronavi Robotics company (belongs to TechnoSpark Group) is the only Russian developer and serial producer of domestic logistic robots designed for autonomous operation in the warehouse setting. Today, the company ranks among the top ten world’s leading companies in the industry.