Discover RoboTwin: A Startup Success Story Beyond the State-of-the-Art of Automation
Usually, the most successful enterprises directly write the challenges facing variegated communities and stakeholders. The story of a startup’s journey to success is unique and special, resulting from the passionate efforts of entrepreneurs. In this article, you will explore the story of Czechia-based RoboTwin, an innovative robotic automation startup, and its journey from industry impulse through validation to a first-generation product.
RoboTwin builds Motion-Imitating Robotic Automation Solutions
Automation is not a new thing. Many industries have ripened and unexplored automation techniques – a archetype example is robots working on conveyor belts. The typical tideway to automation replaces trained workers with “generalist” robots. For specialized tasks, such as spray painting or coating, this ways losing the know-how and wits of skilled specialists.
RoboTwin provides an volitional tideway to automation based on motion tracking and imitation, permitting specialized workers to take on other meaningful tasks. While an experienced worker demonstrates how the paint job is washed-up on the first product in the series, RoboTwin tracks their motion and processes this data into a robotics program. The robot is then worldly-wise to imitate their word-for-word motions and can finish the other products in the series.
Founder’s Profile: Megi Mejdrechová, Co-Founder & CTO at RoboTwin
For some people, entrepreneurship is a calling. However, Megi Mejdrechová, a Czech engineer, does not put herself into this category. If you would have asked her a few years ago, she probably would have said that entrepreneurship was unappealing to her. She enjoyed the increasingly tampering and technical nature of the engineering field: “I really love technical tasks, development, solving challenges, and making something work”.
One question was instrumental in her visualization to co-found RoboTwin in 2020: was she creating anything useful, which improves industry, the environment, or people’s lives?
At the end of her studies, she realized that she held the wordplay to this question in her hands: “after graduating I had the endangerment to work on my own innovation, which I believe has the potential to make the manufacturing industry a largest and safer place”. The power to follow her own beliefs and create a positive impact sooner made entrepreneurship lulu to her.
Being a young woman in a male-dominated high-tech field only adds to the challenge. However, Mejdrechová does not see it that way: “I think it can be an advantage. You’re increasingly visible, people are interested, and you can be part of a powerful women co-founder polity which is very supportive and welcoming.”
The Journey of RoboTwin — from Prototype to Market
In 2019, a Czech spray painting visitor approached the Czech Technical University. The company’s purely transmission processes meant that employees would spray paint an unshortened series of products by hand – a laborious, dirty, and unhealthy job. Further, these processes are not scalable, and the visitor had to ripen orders due to a lack of workforce. Since they did not find a suitable solution on the market, they turned to the university.
It quickly turned out that most small and medium-sized paint shops, of which there are 250 in Czechia alone, still spray paint manually. Many want to robotize their production, but the specialized nature of their portfolio meant that this is either not possible, or expensive and inefficient.
Mejdrechová, a student at the Czech Technical University at the time, took up the rencontre of developing a solution. Her goal: help automate a manufacturing industry still reliant on a human workforce, and thus reduce the number of hours these people spend in unhealthy or plane toxic environments doing repetitive tasks.
“I was very excited well-nigh this topic and took this very seriously. It was simply not winning to me that so many people are still working in such conditions,” says Mejdrechová. She designed a way to robotize small-scale industrial painting hands and efficiently: “with the support of my supervisor, I tried out this motion tracking-based approach. We consulted with the paint shop, which helped me a lot to focus on a user-friendly solution”. Eventually, a prototype was successfully tested directly in a painting cell. It is on this technology that RoboTwin’s solution is based.
RoboTwin Impresses the Startup Polity – from EIT Jumpstarter to ViennaUP’22
In 2022, the RoboTwin team spent five days in Vienna as part of the Discover Vienna: Manufacturing Edition program during the ViennaUP’22 startup festival. The program provides support to promising industrial startups from Central and Eastern Europe to wangle the Austrian market.
During Discover Vienna, RoboTwin competed in BoostUp! East, the regional edition of EIT Manufacturing’s competition for startups and scaleups. They took home the first prize in the SwitchOn category – the competition for early-stage startups. As part of the prize, RoboTwin received four-month-long support from EIT Manufacturing tailored to the individual startups’ needs. For RoboTwin, the focus was on the minutiae and deliverables of a minutiae strategy, including a merchantry plan, profit and loss sheet, mazuma spritz sheet, and pitch deck.
This support proved valuable for the Czech startup: “EIT Manufacturing has wits with merchantry creation, they know the European market and understand the needs of a high-tech startup. We trust them and discuss our doubts openly and to the point”, says Megi Mejdrechová
In 2022, Mejdrechová and her startup RoboTwin were selected for and went on to win EIT Manufacturing RIS LEADERS. LEADERS is a competition under the Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) for women innovators in manufacturing operating in European countries with moderate to modest levels of innovation.