Amazon to boost robotics operation with Cloostermans buyout

Amazon is acquiring Belgian mechatronics business Cloostermans as part of plans to ramp up its robotics operations.

Cloostermans designs and manufacturers mechatronics technology which is used in Amazon operations to help move and stack heavy pallets and totes or package products together for customer delivery.

Amazon, which has been working with the company for three years, said the buyout would mean it could take advantage of its engineering, machinery, and robotics experience to support a more rapid roll out of technology across the business to support its employees, improve safety, and reduce packaging waster.

“Amazon’s investments in robotics and technology are supporting how we build a better and safer workplace for our employees and deliver for our customers,” said Ian Simpson, vice president of Global Robotics at Amazon. “As we continue to broaden and accelerate the robotics and technology we design, engineer and deploy across our operations, we look forward to welcoming Cloostermans to Amazon and are excited to see what we can build together.”

A team of around 200 employees will be joining Amazon Global Robotics in Europe from Cloostermans.

The move follows Amazon's announcement of a series of new robotics technologies, including Proteus, Amazon’s first fully autonomous mobile robot that uses "advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology" to manoeuvre around employees without being confined to restricted areas.

“We’re thrilled to be joining the Amazon family and extending the impact we can have at a global scale,” said Frederik Berckmoes-Joos, chief executive of Cloostermans. “Amazon has raised the bar for how supply chain technologies can benefit employees and customers, and we’re looking forward to be part of the next chapter of this innovation.”

Since Amazon began introducing robotics into its facilities in 2012, it has rolled out over 520,000 robotic drive units worldwide and created creating over a million new jobs, said the e-commerce giant.

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