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Press release

16 oct 20235 min read

United Robotics Group and Fraunhofer IPA enter into technology partnership and licensing agreement: transfer of KEVIN® laboratory robot usage rights

• United Robotics Group strengthens its presence in the life science sector through a icensing agreement and technology partnership with Fraunhofer IPA as well as the acquisition of the KEVIN® laboratory robot
• Partnership unlocks synergies for robot-based automation of laboratories
• KEVIN® increases efficiency and relieves staff in times of skills shortage

Bochum, October 16, 2023 – United Robotics Group (URG) and the Fraunhofer Institute for  Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) have signed a licensing agreement as part of their newly concluded technology partnership. The agreement covers the distribution and further development of the KEVIN® laboratory robot, which will be manufactured and distributed by URG in the future. With this strategic step, URG is expanding its presence in the life science sector.
In addition, both partners benefit from valuable synergies for the future-oriented automation of laboratories – the research and innovation expertise of Fraunhofer IPA optimally complements the robotics expertise of URG. The laboratory robot KEVIN® was developed by the Department of Laboratory Automation and Bioproduction Technology at Fraunhofer IPA and brought to prototype stage with first test customers worldwide. Under the umbrella of URG, KEVIN® will now go into series production. For this purpose, the company is acquiring a corresponding licence for the use and further development of the robot's hardware and software.
We are pleased to be able to create new, promising perspectives for laboratory automation with our robotics solutions as part of the collaboration. This strengthens our presence in the life science sector – and enables us to effectively address societal challenges such as the shortage of skilled labour and demographic change," explains Thomas Linkenheil, Co-CEO of URG.

Mobile laboratory robot
KEVIN® is an autonomous, mobile laboratory robot. It automates processes and can be
flexibly and intuitively integrated into laboratory infrastructures. The robot takes over
repetitive routine tasks. For example, it transports microtitre plates and racks in SBS format, such as samples or consumables for refilling. It can also supply systems with pipette tips.
Using KEVIN® around the clock increases efficiency in the laboratory. Given the shortage of skilled workers, it is particularly important to reduce the workload of staff, allowing them to focus on value-added activities.

"With the new agreement, we have added a decisive boost to the further development and commersialisation of KEVIN®. Automation plays an important role in the life science sector. It enables laboratories to respond flexibly to different requirements. This makes it all the more important to jointly develop suitable solutions for this sector," says Thomas Bauernhansl, Director of the Fraunhofer IPA.

Increase in personnel for URG
In the course of the technological partnership between Fraunhofer IPA and URG and the transfer of the licensing rights to KEVIN®, there will also be personnel changes. Sarah Ostertag and Tobias Brode will join the United Robotics Group. In the future, Sarah Ostertag will work as UX & Industrial Design Lead + Product Management and Tobias Brode as Head of Business Development Lab Automation at URG. Both will accompany KEVIN® from the initial idea to the market-ready series product and thus strengthen company’s expertise in the long term

"From left to right:Andreas Traube, Head of Department Laboratory automation and bioproduction technology, Prof. Thomas Bauernhansl, Director of Fraunhofer IPA, Thomas Linkenheil, Co-CEO of URG, Sarah Ostertag, UX & Industrial Design Lead and Product Management and Tobias Brode, Head of Business Development Lab Automation"

Source: Fraunhofer IPA/Photo: Rainer Bez

About United Robotics Group
United Robotics Group, founded by Thomas Hähn in 2020, unites nine service robotics companies into a unique ecosystem by bundling hardware and software expertise under one roof. Over 490 employees and 28 nationalities work at the company. Headquartered in Bochum, Germany, United Robotics Group brings together cutting-edge technology and robotic experts from both the social and industrial world. United Robotics Group shares the common ambition to empower humanity with technology, and lighten processes for humans, helping them focus on human interactions in a safe and secure environment.
As the CobiotX company who created this third generation of robotics – robots for humans, the United Robotics Group is committed to developing standardized and customized solutions to meet social and business challenges in the life science, health and care, hospitality, education, intralogistics, maintenance and surveillance sectors with quality, data protection and sustainability as key driving forces. All planning humans in the center of all.
RSBG SE, the investment entity of RAG-Stiftung, focused on technology and engineering driven companies is majority shareholder of United Robotics Group. SoftBank Robotics Group is minority shareholder of United Robotics Group.

About Fraunhofer IPA
The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, or Fraunhofer IPA for short, is one of the largest institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with almost 1,200 employees. It has a total budget of €90 million. Organisational and technological tasks in the field of production are the institute's main areas of research. Methods, components and devices are developed, tested and implemented, right up to complete machines and plants. 19 departments work together on an interdisciplinary basis, coordinated by 6 business units, primarily with the automotive, mechanical and plant engineering, electronics and microsystems technology, energy, medical technology and biotechnology, and process industry sectors. The Fraunhofer IPA focuses its research on the economic production of sustainable and personalised products.
Press contact:
Johannes Kober
Corporate Communication, United Robotics Group GmbH
j.Kober@unitedrobotics.group | +49 174 6159342
Ewa Krzeszowiak & Betty Lauerbach, FleishmanHillard Germany
URG_Germany_Press@fleishman.com | +49 173 2674225 | +49-162-1340-666

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