// Multiple WA Innovator of the Year award winner Roborigger, developer of a wireless crane load controlling system, has landed $5M from the same VC that first backed Canva.
Lifting large weights by crane up high to construction sites and commercial property development is fraught with problems. Notably the wind. The danger zone below the object.
Often, cranes have to shut down operations for safety concerns, leading to loss of productivity.
The Roborigger technology was first developed in 2016 to address this problem. Early prototypes have been gaining interest for some time, with construction giant Multiplex and oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum trialling them across the country since 2018.
Blackbird co-founder and partner, Rick Baker, said the firm is excited to be backing Roborigger, with its recently announced $5M Series A round.
“It is a great example of using robots to make dangerous jobs safer,” said Rick. “It has an opportunity to become the de facto standard for safe crane lifting around the world.”Rick Baker
Roborigger founder Derick Markwell said safety benefits are the major drawcard for a lot of companies interested in using to use the Roborigger technology.
The system works to keep personnel away from underneath lifted loads and lifting equipment, reducing or eliminating any time spent in the danger zone.
Last year, the company won no less than three categories in the WA Innovator of the Year program, the first company to achieve such recognition.
Since the award, most major oil and gas companies have now contacted Roborigger to trial the technology both onshore and offshore.
The company also recently signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with two of the top four wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to look at developing Roborigger technology to handle the latest generation of wind turbine blades.
“This incredible interest that we received without even approaching these companies directly indicates that there is a clear and significant need for Roborigger technology”, said Derick.
“We’re just coming to grips with the fact that we have to accelerate our development, and this funding from Blackbird will allow us to build our capability for the overseas market.”Derick Markwell
Derick said the internet-connected tracking software that comes with Roborigger has also garnered the interest of industry players.
The built-in software collects data from every lift including time, weight, and the location of the loads being lifted. Users can access this data from a web browser on their phones or computers.
“This means the loads can be tracked real-time and the efficiency of operations can be analysed and improved.”
The company is currently working very closely with Curtin University to further equip this Internet-of-Things (IoT) capability with pattern and event recognition, giving Roborigger the ability to identify loads and recognise and detect human bodies below the load where they should not be during operation.
In 2018, the company worked with Curtin to refine the mathematical algorithm that determined the appropriate amount of torque under different conditions. This was supported by $30K in funding from the federal government’s ‘Innovation Connections‘ program.
Curtin University is a sponsor of Startup News.