Are you using self-driving equipment like autonomous fork trucks, tuggers, and pallet trucks? If not, you may be losing money every day. Warehousing, manufacturing, and distribution facilities are turning to this equipment to stay competitive and get ahead. Start running more profitable operations using automation today!
Join us for this 30-minute webinar hosted by DC Velocity and take the first step in advancing your operations. Learn the differences between AMRs, AGVs, & VGVs and why AMRs are now the leading operating platform, determine how your facility can maximize the ROI from autonomous equipment, and understand those returns versus the cost of doing nothing.
Date: Thursday, May 13, 2021
Time: 1:00 PM Eastern
Duration: 30 minutes
Scott Wagner, an Industry Advisor at Vecna Robotics, is an experienced resource for the successful use of software and robotic solutions in production, warehousing and retail applications. He refined his detailed understanding of program applications while he was a software expert for inventory management. Here, he supported the specialized beer, wine, and liquor industry for several years. Scott assisted in the adoption and use of software that resulted in improved efficiencies in operations.
Before joining Vecna Robotics, Scott lead dozens of industrial robotic deployments across North America. He successfully managed the implementation of robotic cleaning equipment into dynamic and challenging environments. He accurately identifying client’s needs, assisted in the creation of the best solutions, and oversaw the onsite deployment with a well-organized team. Scott is uniquely qualified to best advise clients on industrial robotic applications as he has the combined experience of integrating various software applications with the selection and workflows of autonomous equipment.
When Scott is not talking about robots or application integrations, he’s busy chasing his two energetic children or staying up late after they go to sleep to work on his vintage Kawasaki motorcycle or fine tuning his fishing gear.
Boston Business Journal released a list of robotics companies that are leading technology innovation and Largest Robotics Companies in Massachusetts. Among the organizations featured are Vecna Robotics and MassRobotics.
Daniel Theobald is the Founder and CEO of Vecna Robotics and the Co-Founder and President of MassRobotics. These Massachusetts-based organizations are two of the state’s notable innovative technology and robotics companies. Vecna Robotics, located in Waltham, is a warehouse automation and workflow orchestration company. The startup is responsible for manufacturing and deploying autonomous material handling robots and workflow orchestration software. MassRobotics is the collective work of a group of Boston-area engineers, rocket scientists, and entrepreneurs. The organization’s partners share a vision to create a global innovation hub focused on the needs of the robotics community.
Robotics companies are popping up everywhere as industries find more use cases for automation. In Massachusetts, these companies cover a wide range of applications from warehouse fulfillment to household cleaning. The state’s robotics sector spans over 350 companies and continues to grow.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated robotics adoption considerably as more companies within the supply chain have experienced labor shortages and unprecedented demand. Boston Business Journal ranks Vecna Robotics’ first on it’s leaders in technology innovation list for its Autonomous Counterbalanced Fork Truck. This vehicle is the company’s more recent addition to its fleet of autonomous material handling equipment. The driverless Fork Truck is designed with applications that streamline materials handling and logistics operations, including: flexible pallet handling; warehouse material hauling; induction, extraction and sortation; and opportunistic material handling.
Vecna Robotics’ recognition from Boston Business Journal as an innovation leader follows a number of accolades recently collected. Most notably, the company was named Fast Company’s 4th Most Innovative Company in the World 2021. This honor recognizes Vecna Robotics’ ability to not only survive the pandemic, but adapt to the circumstances and learn to thrive.
Mike Baier, Vecna Robotics’ VP of Advanced Development, spoke with Keith Cline, Founder of VentureFizz in a video interview. Their conversation covered details, growth, and culture at Vecna Robotics. The interview explored Mike’s career journey at Vecna Robotics, how he has found success and why he loves the company.
Vecna Robotics delivers Automated Material Handling solutions featuring self-driving vehicles operated by a continuous learning platform called Pivotal™. Baier simplifies the use cases by explaining that Vecna Robotics has a diverse product line of autonomous equipment and each robotic solution is fine-tuned to solve a warehousing task. Though Baier is able to put the functions of Vecna Robotics simply, Cline points out that these solutions are extremely complex to develop and implement. Baier explains that Vecna Robotics invested time into developing smart, safe solutions in a way that supports the company goal of having many autonomous platforms.
Mike Baier began work at Vecna Robotics in 2012. Cline asked him why he chose a career at Vecna Robotics and what motivates him to stay with the company. Baier shares that in 2012 he left a startup company and began applying for new roles. Though he received multiple offers from other companies, the culture and work at Vecna Robotics won him over. Baier refers to his coworkers as “the most passionate, intelligent people” he knows. The employees at Vecna Robotics are hardworking and solving complex problems daily.
The headquarters located in Waltham, MA was custom designed for the company to accommodate and adapt to the needs of the company. Vecna Robotics’ state-of-the-art headquarters consolidate all engineering, testing, manufacturing and business functions under one roof
Currently, Vecna Robotics employs over 100 people. The success of the company calls for a need to continue growing the team. Vecna Robotics is actively hiring in nearly all business functions. Mike shares that one of his favorite parts of working at Vecna Robotics is that every day is different and exciting. The robotics industry is constantly progressing and expanding. Vecna Robotics is a leader of innovation in also rapidly growing.
All team members within the organization collaborate as a close-knit community. The sense of community at Vecna Robotics extends beyond the members of the team. Daniel Theobald, Founder and CEO, shares his vision to “make the world a better place” company-wide. The leadership team creates every policy with Daniel’s philosophy in mind. Vecna Robotics is a happy community thanks to many positive shared values.
Watch the full interview with VentureFizz here.
View available positions to join our passionate and intelligent team here.
Get an inside look at Vecna Robotics’ headquarters here.
Vecna Robotics, the autonomous mobile robot and workflow orchestration company, recently welcomed VentureFizz, a careers resource and digital magazine for the tech industry, to capture a behind-the-scenes tour of our headquarters in Waltham, MA. Originally located in Cambridge MA, Vecna Robotics moved to Waltham in 2018 when it spun out from its parent company, Vecna Technologies. The company’s rapid expansion called for an upgraded home. The new, state-of-the-art headquarters are designed to accommodate and adapt to the needs of the company. The new location consolidates all engineering, testing, manufacturing and business functions under one roof.
Facilities within the 80,000 sq ft headquarters include a fully equipped machine shop, model shop, and electronics lab. The location also houses a demo space for virtual and onsite customer product demonstrations. In addition, large meeting spaces throughout the office are effective for hosting all-staff and industry events.
The team at Vecna Robotics challenges themselves day in and day out to produce the highest quality products that revolutionize material handling equipment and improve workflows at warehouses and distribution centers. To strike a balance, the team also enjoys kicking back. Throughout the headquarters tour, VentureFizz captured both where the team works hard and plays hard. Our team enjoys engaging in the company culture by spending time together playing ping pong, foosball, and air hockey. Employees appreciate the availability of two kitchens which include cold brew coffee on tap, an array of teas, and advanced coffee machines with a variety of flavors. In addition, cozy nooks with hammocks and couches are also available for working sessions, hang outs, and taking a break. The headquarters tour of Vecna Robotics revealed the diverse spaces that ensures our team is comfortable, efficient, and empowered to develop the best solutions for our customers.
See the full VentureFizz tour here:
Read more Humans of Robotics stories here:
Katie graduated with a masters degree from Cornell University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Program in 2020. Katie joined the company in January of 2021 and serves a critical role as electrical engineer for the Advanced Development team. Vecna Robotics is dedicated to improving human and machine workflows by building autonomous mobile robots for material handling applications in warehouses and distribution centers.
Recently, her alma mater featured Katie in a spotlight article celebrating her post graduate success. The article details Katie’s accomplishments on campus and her role as a leader within the esteemed engineering program. At Cornell University Katie’s enthusiasm for her work and roles as a teammate and teaching assistant were well known to her peers and mentors. Similarly, the team at Vecna Robotics recognizes Katie Bradford for her high level of enthusiasm towards her work. Cornell reports that Katie spent much of her time studying hardware, ranging from UAVs with the CUAir autonomous aerial system project team, to robotics projects in the Maker Club.
Cornell’s Spotlight interview asked how her experience in academia prepared her for her current role. Katie’s response explained that the basics of circuits classes are crucial to being a working electrical engineer. In addition, her experience in hands on work prepared her to transfer those book skills to real hardware. Katie also shares her advice to other students and women in robotics considering a similar path saying “worry less about getting straight A’s and more about getting your hands on some hardware!” She expresses the importance of learning practical experience, starting small, and learning from your mistakes.
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Read Katie’s Spotlight Article here:
My parents liked to keep things moving. I was born in Trinidad and Tobago, specifically in Port of Spain. In my childhood we shuttled between the Caribbean, Florida, and New York. We also moved to England when my dad was being educated there as a radio and satellite engineer. Eventually, we settled in Boston to be close to my paternal grandmother and aunts. I was a rather precocious child. My mom’s favorite story to share is of an incident from primary school which involved me locking a teacher out of the classroom. I accused the teacher of “not respecting the sanctity of recess and not feeding the class pet on time”- per the expulsion notice. Though funny, that story does not reflect my usual behavior, I did make every effort to do well in school.
My brother, sister, and I attended Boston Latin High School which is my mom’s pride and joy. If you are not familiar with it, Boston Latin is considered one of the best public schools around for its offering of advanced classes and academic track programs. Tenth grade physics with Mr. Spillane was the best class I ever took and that really kicked off a love of science. I was not originally planning to go down a math and science route. However, I was dared by a friend to take the hardest track at Boston Latin which was the physics track. I am very obstreperous; I have never liked being told that something is too difficult for my race or gender. So, I accepted the challenge and graduated from the physics track at Boston Latin.
Since I had taken advanced classes in high school I was able to skip a year at Boston University. I chose BU specifically to do interesting math and research with Dan Tsui – a Nobel Prize winning physicist and engineer. While pursuing a master’s in mathematics, I joined the Photonics Laboratory and got to work on several remote sensing and internet experimentation projects and did research analyzing solar wind/ flare data with the Space Physics & Technology Lab. I am currently finishing up a second master’s in creative writing and am in the final stages of a PMP certificate.
I have many hobbies and interests. I’m currently pursuing a Master’s in Creative Writing and working on a script for Sundance Episodic Labs. I love traveling to really experience the kinds of places and people I want to write about. I’ve visited a host of countries with friends and for writing conventions. I like to get off the beaten path to dig into the culture and people of places I visit.
I also love conventions and staff many fan conventions. At these event I work in guest relations and aid staff. I have worked for shows like New York Comic Con, PAX East, Otakon, and Gencon, a massive board game convention in Indianapolis. It’s always amazing to me to see how a convention center can go from bare walls to 100k fans having a great time. Conventions with six-figure attendance are feats of logistical and production mastery. Watching them happen from the inside is the only way to truly appreciate the work and care that goes into them.
My journey to becoming the Program Manager at Vecna Robotics has included many steps. Originally my post-grad plan was to join Lincoln Laboratory then move onto DARPA. My personality was not the right fit there and I ended up at the state labs working in medicine. Medicine fit my personality and aligned with values I didn’t even realize I needed to satisfy. After leaving the Tuberculosis tracking team I learned the HIS business at Meditech – a local medical information systems institution. Meditech taught me the ropes of being a Program Manager in the industry, what it takes to be in business, how to get a project off the ground and how to ensure that project is successful.
After Meditech, I landed a position with Harvard Medical and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital Cardiac Cath Lab as the Special Projects Manager. After BWH, I accepted a position with the Cath Team at Boston Medical Center. This led an opportunity to manage multiple teams and high-profile projects for the organization. Those projects concluded successfully leading to an opportunity with EOS imaging – a global company based in Paris.
I was fortunate to be able to travel to Paris about once a month. Although I spent much of this time working, I did get the chance to experience the culture of the city. At EOS, I was asked to assume Assistant CIO duties to prime that company to attain HITRUST certification. The duties here were heavily systems focused. I took over development management along with colleagues in Montreal and Paris to fully realize the diagnostic and therapeutic benefits of an AI augmented 3D image of the spine. This program was implemented in hospitals all over the country. When EOS moved to Michigan I left the company, it was too far from my family and honestly, too cold. I opened myself up to the next possibility and took on my next role as Program Manager at Vecna Robotics!
As a Program Manager at Vecna Robotics I work for the Project Management Office (PMO). I am responsible for providing a deep understanding of what the product development teams are doing, what they should be doing, and why. The PMO provides insight into the resources we currently have and how those resources might change in the future. We also provide day-to-day support to the product development team around prioritization and clear direction on release content for our programs, products, and system design. I balance the tension between pressure to develop new software and hardware and keeping up the progress on projects that are currently being worked on. Being a program manager requires me to be focused on our priorities. I do this by figuring out where our time and effort is most valuably spent.
Everyone at Vecna Robotics is very passionate about the products we develop. I have worked with at a lot of different companies and people. I have noticed the passion and drive to get things done truly stands out at Vecna. It is impressive to see a team be so excited about what they do. Vecna Robotics is also very thoughtful about what our impact is on the world. I care deeply about giving back. It is wonderful to work with likeminded people at a company that encourages this.
What I have gathered from various publications I read is that the diversity gap in the tech industry seems to be improving everywhere except Silicon Valley. Companies at the local level with a lower profile seem to be leading change efforts. However, we are still not seeing a lot of change at the c-suite level. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft is an American- Indian high-profile hire which is a great public step.
My hope is that more people of color are supported in standing on their own. I think we need more support for startups and new business that are founded by diverse leadership. However, it is very hard to do something that you have never seen before. The more companies that include diversity all the way through the organization, from the bottom to the top, the more likely it is to catch on to other companies that they could be hiring diverse candidates.
I think diversity is helpful in one way. Diversity helps a company see itself through the eyes of many different segments of society in which it operates. Beyond the direct customers and shareholders, the general reputation of a company throughout mainstream society is important. You never know who is talking to who or sharing opinions about your business. Having a diverse team working at your company can provide valuable insight to help leadership understand the ways your business is being perceived by society.
I am very impressed with the level of energy and enthusiasm put forth by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee puts towards initiatives. I think that Vecna Robotics has done an amazing job getting the D&I Committee off the ground. Other companies can follow the example of Vecna Robotics in regards to the effort put towards engaging underrepresented groups. We are improving our practices of recruiting diverse candidates by looking in a wide range of places and focusing on how we can retain employees.
Daniel, (Founder and CEO of Vecna Robotics) has a great mantra for the company that he shared with me in one of our first conversations: we don’t say anything behind each other’s backs. Congratulate in public and criticize in private. In addition, people from different backgrounds have different ways of both delivering and receiving criticism. I think the expectation of respect helps people of diverse backgrounds mesh in the workplace.
Know your worth, do not sell yourself short. Women of color are paid 65 cents for every dollar paid to white men. The work you are doing is worth that full dollar. You need to say to yourself; “I may not be getting the dollar now but I sure as hell will be eventually.” My advice for the next generation of black women in tech is to make every effort to push, advocate for yourself, and negotiate in a way that gets you what you need. Women in general often miss out in negotiations for not speaking up. But you need to know your worth and ask for it. Every dollar you do not ask for is a dollar you do not get.
As a black manager and person working to build a diverse team, I’ve been asked to overlook difficult behavior. At a previous company, I learned that an individual under my management had displayed poor behavior. In my opinion, the behavior was inexcusable, but I was told that I was not allowed to fire the individual because they were “well entrenched within the company.” I was told that I should understand my place in the hierarchy of things.
The next day I was prepared to hand in my letter of resignation. I felt torn between my own comfort and safety and my role as a protector to the team that depended on me. It is not my nature to fall to the pressure of doing and saying what is deemed acceptable, so this case was extremely difficult for me deal with.
The mentors I have had throughout my career have been a great way for me to receive advice from a neutral or friendly source. Mentors have supported me in my success and help me navigate my career journey. In addition, I believe everyone needs a certain amount of grit and self-reflection to clarify the best path forward.
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Vecna Robotics, the autonomous mobile robot and workflow orchestration company, recently unveiled the new fully Autonomous Counterbalanced Fork Truck that is changing the future of workflow automation. See more about the new Autonomous Counterbalanced Fork Truck and its capabilities here. The announcement of the first vehicle in the company’s Silverback Series of Counterbalanced Fork Trucks has sparked excitement within the industry and is generating a lot of buzz. Details of the Autonomous Counterbalanced Fork Truck’s powerful applications have been covered by multiple industry news outlets.
Read more coverage of the counterbalanced fork truck launch below.
Manufacturing AUTOMATION keeps readers informed about the latest industrial automation technologies, trends, news and products, primarily in the discrete manufacturing sector.
Supply Chain and Demand Executive (SDCE) has been the only magazine in the Supply Chain industry covering the entire global supply chain that focuses on ROI, professional development and change management, all in a solutions-based format for over 20 years.
Food Logistics is the only magazine exclusively dedicated to covering the food and beverage supply chain, from the largest food manufacturers to retailers, distributors and food service providers.
Material Handling and Logistics Magazine covers warehousing, material handling equipment, transportation strategies, sustainability, logistics, global commerce, distribution, regulatory compliance, workforce management, new technology and automation.
AiThority covers AI technology news, editorial insights and digital marketing trends from around the globe.
The Mobile Report Guide exists to educate prospective mobile robot buyers about autonomous mobile robots (AMR), AMR applications and vendors.
Vecna Robotics employee using 5G VR to reliably teleoperate
Earlier this year, Verizon and Newlab launched the 5G Studio to support the development of next-generation industry applications built on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. Vecna Robotics was among the first cohort of partnered companies to test new applications of 5G technology through the 5G Studio. Newlab and Verizon have unveiled the first results of the 5G studio which includes how Vecna Robotics has successfully utilized the technology to make strides in transforming the industrial automation industry.
To facilitate the 5G Studio, Verizon deployed 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge compute (MEC) at Newlab’s headquarters in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Leveraging access to 5G capabilities and Newlab’s advanced prototyping resources and product realization support, companies from Newlab’s vast member community and beyond have been able to showcase their technologies to address challenges across industries.“5G technology and edge computing are ushering in an unprecedented era of innovation, with profound implications for how we will live and work,” said Shaun Stewart, CEO of Newlab. “Earlier this year, we proudly established the 5G Studio with Verizon, a collaboration intended to harness the immense potential of 5G advancements by providing critical support to companies applying technology to transform industry and society. The results produced by this year’s incredible cohort of 5G Studio companies is a testament to the enormous breadth of these solutions, to the cohort companies’ visions, and to the efficacy of Newlab’s Innovation Studio model in empowering entrepreneurial innovation.”
With 5G, Vecna Robotics has demonstrated a streamlined cloud-based architecture and deployed systems more rapidly, reliably teleoperated continuously and at scale using VR, and processed non-critical functions and machine learning in the cloud.
Giving back is a core part of the company culture at Vecna Robotics, and employee-led service initiatives are met with overwhelming support from our staff.
This fall, a book drive for More Than Words was led by Elizabeth Pelberg-Schariter, Talent Acquisition Manager. Her inspiration for the book drive came from an experience that she believed many people could relate to. “During a recent move, I found I had a lot of books that my family was no longer using. Figuring I had colleagues in the same situation, I arranged a drive that would give these books a second life,” she said. “By donating to MTW, not only do the books go to a new home, but the kids in their job training program get practical work experience. It’s a win-win!”
More Than Words is a nonprofit job training and youth development program that empowers nearly 350 youth each year to take charge of their lives by operating a $4M bookselling business. More Than Words works with the most vulnerable young adults in Greater Boston: those who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school. Youth involved in the program hold a paying job and gain valuable experience working and learning business skills such as customer service, technology, inventory management, and leadership skills.
Organizations like More Than Words depend on the donations and generosity of the public to achieve their goals.
The team at Vecna Robotics rallied in support of the book drive and together filled our large collection bin with a wide variety of book donations. The Covid-19 pandemic prevented our volunteers from dropping off donations inside the Waltham More Than Words location however, social distance friendly drop off worked out well!
Discover more about More Than Words and how you can get involved here.
Roberto Michel, Modern Materials Handling – November, 2020 – Automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) have been reliant in moving loads around industrial facilities since their introduction in the 1950’s. However, the new wave autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have become more popular as they automate much of the legwork involved in e-commerce order picking. AGV’s can now assist in goods-to-person order picking, while conversely, some AMRs can move and lift pallet-sized loads. A recent study shows that both categories of mobile robots are growing but AMRs are dominating the high growth niche of e-commerce order picking. According to analyst firm Interact Analysis, the AGV market will grow by 11% in 2020, while the AMR market will grow by 45% this year.
AGVs and AMRs share many common applications however, some industry experts say there are markets where each mobile robot can be a better fit than the other. John Hayes, Vice President of Sales at Vecna Robotics believes that while the differences between the mobile robot types are small, AMRs can do everything AGVs can and more. Vecna Robotics, an AMR vendor, offers multiple models used to move larger, pallet-sized loads, as well as smaller loads. The upshot of all this evolution, says John Hayes is the notion that larger loads call for AGVs is no longer valid.
“You can’t go by form factor alone,” says Hayes. “Our vehicle technology, for example, is an AMR with respect to how they navigate, but in terms of being able to handle larger loads, they have the application suitability of an AGV.”
Hayes does see some AGVs beginning to use natural navigation, but points out that overall, most AGVs follow predefined paths, though they have safety sensors to stop on a dime if need be. “The AMR concept just means that the vehicles can path plan versus path follow,” says Hayes. “It’s really that one fundamental difference that changes AGVs to AMRs. An autonomous vehicle can think about the environment and react versus follow a defined path.”
Read the full article from Modern Materials Handling here: