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Germany’s Hahn Group buys Rethink's cobot technology

25 October, 2018

UPDATED: The German-led global automation and robotics specialist, Hahn Group, has acquired all of the patents and trademarks of the US-based collaborative robots (cobots) pioneer, Rethink Robotics, which recently announced that it was closing after operating for ten years. Hahn has also acquired Rethink’s Intera5 software platform which allows which users to program industrial robots “intuitively”. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Separately, the cobot giant Universal Robots has announced that it is taking on more than 20 former Rethink staff members and is merging its Boston office with Rethink’s former headquarters nearby.

Hahn – a former Rethink distributor – says it plans to develop Rethink’s technology further, with the aim of combining it with its own engineering and industrial application know-how. It will offer its customers "high-quality" collaborative robot systems and services. In addition, Hahn plans to make the Intera5 software platform available to partners through licensing or other arrangements.

“The acquisition of Rethink Robotics’ technology marks an important milestone for the development of our portfolio of collaborative robotics solutions,” says the group’s CEO, Thomas Hähn. “This transaction will bring us not only a boost in innovative technologies, but also access to highly specialised know-how in one of the most dynamic future markets.

“We are very pleased that we could convince the owners of Rethink Robotics to agree to the sale of its robotic technology around the Sawyer cobot, as well as the Intera5 software,” he adds.

The Hahn Group has acquired the patents, trademarks and programming software for Rethink Robotics’ collaborative robots, which include the one-armed Sawyer robot (above). The announcement makes no mention of the older, two-armed Baxter cobot.

The Hahn Group consists of a network of specialised companies for industrial automation and robot systems, and has more than 30 years of experience and hundreds of collaborative, as well as conventional, robot installations. Rethink Robotics will form the third pillar of the group’s robotic division – alongside its integration business (run by Hahn Robotics) and rental business (run by Hahn RobShare) – and will complete its service portfolio.

Hahn currently employs around 1,100 people at 19 locations across the world, and generates an annual revenue of about €160m. It has production sites in China, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, India, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey and the US. The company owns two UK subsidiaries – Multi Automation in Redditch and Orwin in Washington.

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