Amazon has acquired the oldest Belgian company, Cloostermans, which was founded in 1841 and has been privately owned for the past six generations. The company employs 200 engineers who specialize in mechatronics and the production of high-tech robots for warehouses.
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Cloostermans' product portfolio includes patented technology-based solutions for moving and stacking heavy loads, systems for automating and robotizing warehouse goods management processes, and mechanisms for packing orders.
Previously, Amazon was a partner of Cloostermans for several years and ordered robots for warehouses. Now the American company will be able to provide such services to its customers and will continue to robotize its warehouses, automating supply chains and internal processes with the help of Cloostermans technologies as part of a strategy for the active development and use of warehouse robotics.
Amazon has been experiencing employee shortages in its warehouses around the world for several years and is trying to compensate for the manpower with extensive use of automation systems.
Amazon and Cloostermans did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. The U.S. company recently opened an innovative robotics lab in Italy and operates several R&D centers in Germany. Now Amazon intends to open such a research facility at Cloostermans' site in the Belgian city of Hamm, after the deal closes.
Amazon's current robotics ecosystem includes a variety of levels of automation, including robots for warehouse operations, automated packaging systems and delivery of goods to customers.
On Aug. 5, Amazon announced an agreement to buy robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for $1.7 billion, including the company's debt. Industry experts believe that Amazon will begin offering new consumer robotics solutions beyond its Astro home robot after the purchase of iRobot.
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In 2019, Amazon bought Dispatch to create an autonomous delivery robot, Scout, and Canvas Technology for warehouse automation.
In 2012, Amazon acquired Kiva, a developer of unmanned robots and mobile robotic systems for warehouses, and incorporated the company into its Amazon Robotics division. It develops and maintains robots only for Amazon.