I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS
European Union European Regional Development Fund
In an ordinary parcel terminal, the customers can reach parcels which are stored to a maximum height of 1.5 metres. We were faced with the challenge of how to store parcels higher. As a solution, we envisaged a parcel robot and a door where users can insert and take out parcels. Inside the parcel terminal there is a robot, which takes the parcels up to a height of three or four metres and, if necessary, brings parcels down from the same height. Another challenge which we found a solution for is taking PackRobot into outdoor conditions. As a result, customers can receive their parcels 24/7. Bringing PackRobot outdoors had its own set of challenges − regardless of the location of the robot, parcels cannot be allowed to freeze inside in winter or conversely we can’t have things like chocolate start to melt in the summer heat. Therefore we needed to add a climate control appliance to the robot − if necessary, we heat the interior and if necessary we cool it and remove any humidity,’ Kütt says, shedding light on the complicated life of PackRobots. Cleveron’s thorough and successful development work has led to the signing of a collaboration agreement with the US technology company Bell & Howell in September. The US company has publicly announced that they see the potential of installing 15 000 PackRobots produced in Viljandi all over North-America.
LIFE IN ESTONIA #43
It is important to note that the robots will reach the American market under Cleveron’s own brand name. When the collaboration contract becomes effective, there will arise a need to enlarge the factory space and to hire more staff. The production of these robots, unique in the world, will commence at the beginning of next year. As we have built up our production base from scratch, we do not see any huge problems in expanding. We have already considered the likelihood of expanding when we built the current factory, comments Kütt. The price of one PackRobot produced by Cleveron will be comparable to a more expensive German car, because it is made up of thousands of components and in additionally the hardware includes unique software. Whilst the major contract has been signed with a US company, the first robots will be installed in Estonia. This process will begin in the first half of next year. Development work at Cleveron takes place in different directions: as a new product, the electronic storage locker has just come onto the market. The first was installed in Tallinn Viru Shopping Centre last October. Customers can leave their suitcases or purchases in the locker and visit the centre without carrying their heavy bags. What is innovative about the solution is that payment can be made with a bank card or mobile instead of coins.
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Customers receive a code via a text message to their phone, and later when they want to get their things, they insert the code to open the locker. Currently the development team is working on developing a robot with cooling zones meant for the delivery of food produce. Work is also in process on the landing area and hanger for a drone which is to be integrated with the ceiling height of the robot. Hence the company believes that in the future there will be drones delivering parcels in addition to robots. Parcel terminals from the first generation revolutionized the postal sphere by freeing people from the burden of having to stand in lines in postal offices or waiting for couriers. All prerequisites needed to repeat the revolution of comfort and effectiveness in the postal sphere are fulfilled by PackRobot. The first PackRobots manufactured by Cleveron have reached the bigger cities of Estonia and serve the customers of Collect.Net, the newly-established open network. Nobody is thinking about resting on their laurels at Cleveron, however. Every day, work is in progress on finding new markets and partners, confirms Kütt. We are looking for direct contacts, visiting trade fairs and introducing our PackRobot. In addition we have agents in different countries working on sales,’ he says.