The Germany-based Wandelbots has raised a $30 million Series B funding round led by 83North with the participation of Next47 and Microsoft's M12 funding arm on Tuesday, June 16.

Startup company Wandelbots enables non-programmers to instruct industrial robots on how to do specific tasks will use the funding to boost the market debut of its TracePen. According to TechCrunch, it is a code-free hand-held device that allows humans to operate and easily demonstrate desired behavior for industrial robots quickly.

Programming robots to do tasks requires massive amounts of code as well as specific, in-demand skillsets for programmers. However, Wandelbots allows owners to teach robots, simply showing them what it needs to learn.

Meanwhile, humans need to show another set of behaviors to reprogram the robot to complete a new task.

Wandelbots developed the software at the Faculty of Computer Science at the Technical University of Dresden. In 2017, the startup was a finalist in TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield competition, then raised $6.8 million Series A round in 2018 headed by Paua Ventures, Atlantic Labs, Haniel, and Alexander Rinke as well as EQT Ventures.

Wandelbots already has some big clients like Volkswagen, Infineon, and BMW. It will launch its TracePen publicly for the first time on June 17. A person who uses industrial robots can save months of programming and its related costs when using Wandelbots' technology. This could make robotics practical even for smaller companies and those with limited budgets.

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Wandelbots boosts no-code robotics technology

Wandelbots CEO and co-founder Christian Piechnick said in an email on how they can overcome some challenges other companies have faced after introducing greater automation to their manufacturing facilities. He said that inflexibility, complexity, and cost caused by automation reversals.

"People are usually not aware that 75% of the total cost of ownership of a robot comes from software development," said Piechnick adding that problems introduced by robots outweigh its benefits.

To resolve this, the company has enabled "manufacturers to use robots with an unseen flexibility" while dramatically reducing the cost of robot use. "Our product enables non-programmers to easily teach a robot with new tasks and thus, reduces the involvement of hard-to-find and costly programmers," Piechnick added.

The TracePen focuses more on using smart clothes to fully model human behavior in real-time to translate that to robotic instruction. It employs the same underlying software tech but allows customers to experience it much closer.

When asked how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Wandelbots' business, Piechnick told TechCrunch that it has driven up the automation demand and efficiencies that benefit automation in numerous ways.

"COVID-19 has impacted the thinking on global manufacturing in various ways," Piechnick wrote. He detailed it further as "there is a massive trend of reshoring to reduce the risk of globally distributed supply chains."

The Wandelbots' boss also said that automation is a natural consequence of ensuring quality, scale volume, and cost reduction. "With a technology that leads to almost immediate ROI and extremely short time-to-market, we hit a trend," said Piechnick adding that the dependency on human personnel and workplace restrictions have greatly increased the demand for automation.

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