Recognising robotics’ innovation and growth

Robotics Plus CFO Chelan Burton-Brown receiving the award from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Simon Birmingham.

Tauranga-based robotics and automation company Robotics Plus has won an ANZLF Trans-Tasman Innovation and Growth Award.

The award, which celebrate innovation, growth and impact of emerging businesses in Australia and New Zealand, was presented by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a reception in Auckland last month.

Robotics Plus was founded in 2013 by Steve Saunders and Dr Alistair Scarfe with a simple goal in mind: to improve the quality, productivity and sustainability of the horticultural and other primary industry supply chains.

The company’s R&D efforts focus on automation, vision, robotics and AI, to solve growing challenges in the primary industry globally such as labour shortages, sustainability for growers and producers, pollination gaps and yield security. 

Founder and chairman Steve Saunders says it’s an absolute honour for the team to receive the award.

“It is validation of the hard work of a lot of people over a number of years and celebrates our innovation, culture and diversity. We’d like to recognise our fantastic partners and collaborators in the commercial, research and government sectors, without them this would not be possible.”

Chief executive Dr Matt Glenn says the company is experiencing strong growth on the back of increasing demand for its world-first platform technologies.

“In the last 18 months Robotics Plus has launched two commercial products, entered the US and European markets, completed a US$10M Series A investment with Yamaha Motor Company and grown from a team of 12 to more than 50.

“We also have a number of new products in the pipeline and expect our growth to continue at the same rate for the foreseeable future.

Robotics Plus launched its award-winning robotic Aporo apple packers commercially in 2018. This year it launched the Robotic Scaling Machines, which automate the accurate measurement of logs on trucks and trailers, with Mount Maunganui-based ISO Limited commissioning the world’s first two automated logging truck scalers.

And the company has a range of technologies under development to address major issues in a range of industries. They include an autonomous agricultural vehicle, robotic pollinator, robotic harvesters, crop estimator, and a number of confidential projects. “It’s an exciting time for Robotics Plus,” says Matt.

The inaugural ANZLF Trans-Tasman Innovation and Growth Awards was established by the Australia NZ Leadership Forum to bring senior business and government leaders together to help the countries prosper in the global economy.

Robotics Plus winners’ prize is AUD$20,000 and invitation to two funded winners’ summits in 2020.


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