An increasing number of companies are looking to automate as a shortage of skilled workers is expected to take a toll on manufacturers through 2030.
Tokyo- and Atlanta-based startup Mujin, which develops AI-based software for industrial automation, believes that robots can improve productivity and safety. Today, the startup is announcing an $85 million Series C, bringing its total funding up to $150 million. SBI Investment led the latest round, with participation from Pegasus Tech Ventures and Accenture, among others. Mujin declined to disclose its valuation.
Founded in 2011 by Ross Diankov and Issei Takino, the company has built MujinController, which allows users to deploy and automate various applications for their industrial robots across manufacturing and logistics at a lower cost. CEO Diankov told TechCrunch that he decided to found Mujin in Japan, where many manufacturing and automation tech firms are located.
He describes the software platform as "the definitive brain for robots, an indispensable component that drives their intelligence and capabilities across various industries."
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MujinController currently supports more than 1,000 systems in production and has already been adopted by a number of its strategic partners, including robot original equipment manufacturers like ABB, Fanuc, KUKA, Yaskawa, Universal Robots and Kawasaki, Diankov said.
Its platform is designed for picking and palletizing/de-palletizing e-commerce products. Earlier this year, the company unveiled a truck bot that can "unload trailers and shipping containers."
Japanese logistics firm Paltac automated its manual palletizing process using Mujin Pack. The startup claims that it resulted in doubling productivity and about a 90% reduction in labor requirements of Paltac. Mujin's precision piece-picking technology also allowed JD.com to solve the challenge of handling expensive, delicate items, according to the outfit.
"The MujinController introduces a unique approach to creating robotics applications, leveraging a real-time non-volatile digital twin and offering a suite of perception, planning and control algorithms to digitize the real world and autonomously move robots and other industrial equipment through it," Diankove said in its statement.
Mujin will use the proceeds for product expansion to develop advanced solutions and applications that cater to evolving market demands and global expansion to extend its reach to new markets and customers across the globe.
The company has offices in the U.S., Japan and China with over 300 employees.