SESTO Robotics – The Rise of the Robots

Singapore-based SESTO Robotics is expanding its reach, offering autonomous mobile robotics solutions for Europe’s smart manufacturing industries.

Established only five years ago, SESTO Robotics has become a leading provider of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) and applications that automate the delivery and material handling processes in manufacturing, healthcare and commercial facilities.

“SESTO Robotics’ AMRs are fully developed and manufactured in-house and are powered by the company’s proprietary operating system – bringing cutting edge intelligence and tasking capabilities to customers’ intralogistics needs.

CEO Chor-Chen Ang says: “Our customers rely on our robots to enhance productivity. SESTO’s robust hardware is designed and built to comply with international safety standards, ensuring safe usage among people and machines. At the same time, our intelligent software system merges edge, fleet and business intelligence to enable our clients to achieve optimal outcomes.”

He points out that SESTO Robotics is one of the few deep tech companies that have managed to commercialise its technology, specifically in the semiconductor industry.

In a US semiconductor plant based in Singapore, 20 units of SESTO PRIME with a 7-axis robot arm are deployed to autonomously swap Front Opening Unified Pods (FOUPs) between the stocker, multi-tier rack and tooling machines within a limited space, significantly improving productivity, safety and traceability within the plant, allowing operators to be freed up to focus on more value-added tasks.

SESTO’s AMRs have also been deployed for automated transportation of heavy tote boxes in a large semiconductor manufacturing plant in China, travelling over long distances of up to 40 kilometres per day, thereby reducing tedious delivery tasks for plant workers whilst ensuring cycle times for parts handling are met.

Other AMR deployments include a hospital laboratory, a clean room facility, bus depot office canteen and various manufacturing plants.

The compact solution

Mr Ang acknowledges that the company’s flagship product – launched last year – is the SESTO Magnus AMR for material handling – a bi-directional, compact autonomous mobile robot able to carry loads of up to 300 kilogrammes.

He says: “With the world easing into the Covid-19 “new normal”, there is an accelerated urgency for manufacturers and non-manufacturing industries to quickly automate their processes while ensuring safe management measures such as a staggered workforce or spilt team arrangements. SESTO Magnus’ small and low profile is designed with manufacturing, healthcare and commercial facilities in mind. Its intelligent software controls enable it to operate safely in narrow passageways and amongst people.”

SESTO Magnus is highly versatile and can be configured with limitless applications of autonomous material transport, deployed using a tablet or laptop. The robot provides high uptime of up to ten hours on a single charge and fast battery charging in three hours.

“Current manual handling and transport processes are often time-consuming and error-prone. In addition, repeated manual handling of heavy loads can lead to workforce injuries and accidents. SESTO Magnus reduces the dependency on manual labour which has become a priority for many companies in recent months, as Covid-19 caused major disruptions to the availability of on-premise employees,” Mr Ang points out.

Destination Europe

Given the increasing penetration of robotics and automation in every industry, it is no surprise that SESTO Robotics is set to capture emerging opportunities in the developed world. In 2021, the company has targeted the German, Austrian and Swiss markets – the most advanced in Europe in terms of automation and digitisation.

Earlier this year, SESTO partnered with Germany-based automation specialist Baumüller to bring SESTO Magnus AMR to the German-speaking countries, as the first Singapore-based robotics company to offer autonomous mobile robotics solutions focused on smart manufacturing in Europe.

“Through our partnership with Baumüller, we will bring our Singapore-designed AMR solution to the manufacturing, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors in Europe. With Magnus, Baumüller will help businesses automate material transport for a wide variety of applications, including intralogistics, machine assembly, testing and diagnostic technology,” says Mr Ang, noting that SESTO Robotics is the only robotics company providing AMRs to Baumüller.

“SESTO Magnus’ versatility enables limitless configurations on one single autonomous platform. By adding valuable customisation options such as collaborative robots, UV and ozone disinfection equipment, scissor lift tables, intelligent racking systems and other individually implementable payloads to Magnus, we will help industries such as manufacturing, pharmaceutical and healthcare achieve the benefits of automation,” he explains.

Progressing towards the next stage

He admits that the company will eventually be looking at other west European countries with a developed manufacturing industry base such as Italy and France, and potentially some countries of eastern Europe. “We need to work with local partners that are specialised in particular industries to be able to reach out to customers beyond the German-speaking countries.”

At the moment, however, it is the German-speaking region that is the focus of SESTO Robotics. The company has just recently become a Technology Partner at the Siemens Advance Manufacturing Transformation Centre (AMTC) in Singapore, one of its two centres that aim to provide guidance, support and training to companies striving to adopt advanced manufacturing.

“We are the only company in this partnership specialising in mobile robotics, and will address companies in South-East Asia that are looking for advanced technologies and solutions,” affirms Mr Ang.

Speaking about the next stage of the company’s development, he explains that most of SESTO Robotics’ resources are focused on product development and looking at further product extensions. A new version of SESTO Magnus is set to be released early next year, as the company sees opportunities for different classes of robots.

Reflecting on the past year, Mr Ang says: “We are happy that despite the pandemic and the difficult year and a half, we were able to forge ahead and make progress because of the support of our customers, suppliers and partners. To thrive and flourish, any business needs to adapt in order to grow. That is what we have been doing and that mindset will guide us into the future.”

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