Attabotics is a robotics company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that specializes in Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) inventory management systems. Founded in 2016, the company designs and manufactures intelligent robots that operate within a modular, three-dimensional storage structure that minimizes the traditional fulfillment center footprint.

Attabotics Inc.
Company typePrivately held company
IndustryRobotics design and manufacturing
Founded2016; 8 years ago (2016)
FounderScott Gravelle
Headquarters,
Key people
Scott Gravelle (CEO, CTO)
Revenue~$30 million (2018)
Number of employees
>230 (2019)
Websiteattabotics.com

Origins

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The Attabotics system grew out of a thought experiment about what an automated warehouse designed specifically for robots might look like.[1] After exploring multiple designs, founder Scott Gravelle took inspiration from the natural world:

The original inspiration for the company was the leaf-cutter ant, whose Latin name is ‘Atta’… I saw a documentary where a researcher had poured molten aluminum down an ant colony and then dug it up. Ants integrate goods vertically.—Scott Gravelle, Attabotics Founder, CEO, CTO[2]

Technology

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Attabotics’ proprietary 3D storage system, The Studio, combines order picking, packing, and shipping into one consolidated solution. This differs significantly from many existing robotics fulfillment models, which frequently do not incorporate sortation into the solution infrastructure.

The Studio consists of four interconnected systems:

  • The Gallery: A modular, cube-based storage facility that provides three-dimensional access to inventory stored inside. Dense and stackable up to 9 meters, the Gallery can reduce warehouse space requirements by up to 85%.[3]
  • The Attabot Blade: An intelligent robot designed to move horizontally and vertically throughout the Gallery structure to retrieve good and deliver them for sortation, packing, and shipping. Each robot functions independently and can access any bin without having to dig to reach it. The latest generation of Attabot was re-engineered in 2022 following millions of test cycles.[4]
  • The Nodes: Configurable workstations incorporated into the Gallery where items are delivered for sortation. Additional nodes can be installed at any time to increase productivity.
  • The Weave: A proprietary order management and control software that efficiently manages robot movement and order fulfillment. Optimized for the Gallery’s three-dimensional design, it allows for intelligent inventory management and customized order processing.

Although the first generation of Attabotics solutions utilized existing technologies to deliver a proof-of-concept and pilot model, later designs incorporate several proprietary designs developed specifically for the company’s innovative fulfillment solution. Combining hardware, software, and process development under one roof not only allowed Attabotics to build a more efficient system, but also to apply those efficiencies to the production process to improve productivity and minimize overhead costs.[5]

History

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2016

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Attabotics is founded by Scott Gravelle to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the growing AS/RS robotics market.

2017

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The first prototype 3D storage system is developed as a proof of concept. Alberta Innovates, a government agency designed to help start-ups bridge the gap between concept and working prototype, makes a key early investment in the company.[6]

2018

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Attabotics announces development of new manufacturing site at Calgary’s YYC Global Logistics Park in partnership with Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund.[7] The deal ensures that both development and production will remain in Canada. Attabotics also begins its partnership with Gordon Food Service, one of North America’s largest foodservice distributors to automate elements of its supply chain.[8]

2019

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The company announces plans to build new headquarters in Calgary and hires one of Canada’s leading architectural firms to design the building.[9] A new partnership with Microsoft is established to expand edge computing, LTE networking, and IoT capabilities.[10]

2020

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Investments from the Canadian government as part of the country's Innovation, Science and Economic Development portfolio allows Attabotics to expand its research and manufacturing operations in Canada.[11]

2021

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Attabotics pushes to expand its capabilities by partnering with Canada’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) companies. In May, the company announces a partnership with AltaML and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) to improve supply chain efficiencies.[12] Canada’s SCALE AI also announces that it will invest in Attabotics as part of an Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) initiative to further improve fulfillment efficiency, uptime, and throughput.[13]

2022

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An agreement with SYNUS Tech allows the company to expand operations into the South Korean market.[14] It also partners with Körber Supply Chain to bring its automation technology to the EU.[15] Attabotics is also selected by the US Department of Defense as robotics provider for the Marine Corps Logistics Command 5G ‘Smart Warehouse.’[16]

The company continues to build relationships with Canadian firms. In July, it establishes a new partnership with Modern Beauty, Canada’s leading beauty retailer, to introduce automation technology to Calgary-area fulfillment center.[17] Another deal is struck to help Pan Pacific Pet modernize its warehouse operations.[18] Attabotics expands its leadership team by hiring tech industry veteran Richard Cheung as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).[19]

Awards and recognition

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  • CNBC Upstart 100 (2019)[20]
  • Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2019[21]
  • CNBC Disruptor 50 Company (2020)[22]
  • CBInsights Retail Tech 100 for 2020[23]
  • Fast Company’s 32nd Most Innovative Company of 2020[24]
  • BIG Innovation Award (2022)[25]
  • Fast Company’s 8th Most Innovative Robotics Company of 2023[26]

References

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  1. ^ Kariuki, Jeremy (August 15, 2022). "Attabotics: How leafcutter ants inspired supply chain innovation". FreightWaves. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  2. ^ Demaitre, Eugene (August 16, 2019). "Attabotics brings vision of ant-like efficiency to supply chains". The Robot Report. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  3. ^ Thomas, Lauren (December 5, 2019). "How Nordstrom uses robots and shelves inspired by ants to deliver lipstick faster". CNBC. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  4. ^ Demaitre, Eugene. "Attabotics Introduces Re-engineered Attabot 2022 Robot to Increase Warehouse Efficiency". Robotics 24/7. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  5. ^ Factory Forward Attabotics CC 21NOV16 v1, retrieved August 14, 2023
  6. ^ Factory Forward Attabotics CC 21NOV16 v1, retrieved August 14, 2023
  7. ^ "Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund selects ATTAbotics for funding". GlobeNewswire News Room. December 12, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  8. ^ "Attabotics Celebrates 4-Year Partnership with Gordon Food Service". Calgary.Tech. October 26, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  9. ^ Parker, David (June 17, 2019). "ATTAbotics hires local company to design new building". Calgary Herald. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  10. ^ Degrasse, Martha (May 29, 2020). "How Attabotics and Microsoft use private LTE to monitor robots". Light Reading. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  11. ^ Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (December 15, 2020). "Government of Canada announces contribution to next-generation robotic warehouse solution". www.canada.ca. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  12. ^ "Attabotics partners with AltaML and Amii to bolster AI capabilities for supply chains". Robotics & Automation News. May 7, 2021. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  13. ^ "SCALE AI announces its largest financing round of 2021 with twelve projects and $71 million in investments in artificial". Bloomberg.com. December 8, 2021. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  14. ^ "Attabotics Partners with SYNUS Tech to Advance Smart Factory Robotic Solutions in the South Korean Market and Beyond". Financial Post. May 31, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  15. ^ "Attabotics Pens Strategic EU Partnership with International Tech Group, Körber Supply Chain Automation". www.businesswire.com. June 14, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  16. ^ "KPMG and United States Department of Defense Appoint Attabotics as 3D Robotics Systems Provider for New 5G 'Smart Warehouse'". www.businesswire.com. October 4, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  17. ^ "Modern Beauty Supplies Taps Attabotics to Advance Fulfillment Operations". Financial Post. July 25, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  18. ^ "Pan Pacific Pet to Use Attabotics Automated Storage and Retrieval to Modernize Fulfillment". Robotics 24/7. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  19. ^ "Attabotics, the World's First 3D Supply Chain System for Modern Commerce, Hires Richard Cheung as Chief Financial Officer". www.businesswire.com. September 13, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  20. ^ Sheng, Ellen (November 12, 2019). "Amazon's ant-size competition in designing the warehouse of the future". CNBC. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  21. ^ "Attabotics: Special Mention on The 100 Best Inventions of 2019". Time. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  22. ^ "These are the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies". CNBC. June 16, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  23. ^ "Retail Tech 100 of 2020: The tech innovators transforming retail". CB Insights Research. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  24. ^ Sorokanich, Lara (March 10, 2020). "The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies: How a nature documentary inspired a cutting-edge design that shrinks massive warehouses into the space of an office building". Fast Company. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  25. ^ "Attabotics Wins 2022 BIG Innovation Award". www.businesswire.com. January 14, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  26. ^ Pegoraro, Rob (February 3, 2023). "The 10 most innovative companies in robotics of 2023". Fast Company. Retrieved August 1, 2023.

Further reading

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