Ro­bot­ics Plus ap­points CEO

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

AGRI­CUL­TURAL ro­bot­ics and au­to­ma­tion com­pany Ro­bot­ics Plus has ap­pointed Dr Matt Glenn as the com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer. The move comes after a pe­riod of ac­cel­er­ated growth for Ro­bot­ics Plus fu­elled by in­dus­try demand for its in­no­va­tive hor­ti­cul­ture au­to­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies.

“The com­pany is grow­ing strongly and is well funded, so now is the right time to add a pro­fes­sional chief ex­ec­u­tive to lead our high cal­i­bre team. We are very pleased to have at­tracted some­one of Matt’s cal­i­bre, he brings over 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in busi­ness man­age­ment and the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy,” says Steve Saun­ders, Co- Founder and Chair­man of Ro­bot­ics Plus, who had held the role of Act­ing CEO. Saun­ders will re­main an Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor to fo­cus on the strat­egy and es­tab­lish­ment of a US sub­sidiary.

Dr Glenn has an Hon­ours de­gree and PhD in Molec­u­lar Bi­ol­ogy from Liver­pool Univer­sity and Leeds Univer­sity re­spec­tively. He was pre­vi­ously the CEO of an­a­lyt­i­cal test­ing lab­o­ra­tory, Hill Lab­o­ra­to­ries, a role he served since 2014. Prior to that he worked in man­age­ment con­sult­ing after roles at Fon­terra and Bal­lance Agri- nu­tri­ents where he gained ex­per­tise in a broad range of man­age­ment dis­ci­plines. This fol­lowed a role at biotech start- up Gen­e­sis Re­search and De­vel­op­ment where he helped de­velop the largest ge­nomics plat­form in the South­ern Hemi­sphere.

Ear­lier in the year, Ro­bot­ics Plus se­cured in­vest­ment and a part­ner­ship agree­ment from Yamaha Mo­tor Co. (Ja­pan) and the Saun­ders Fam­ily Trust in New Zealand to sup­port its am­bi­tious growth plans.

In May, Ro­bot­ics Plus signed an agency and dis­tri­bu­tion agree­ment with Global Pac Tech­nolo­gies, a joint ven­ture be­tween United States com­pany Van Doren Sales and New Zealand- owned Jenk­ins Group, for the com­pany’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary ro­botic ap­ple pack­ers to go global. The ap­ple packer, which iden­ti­fies and places ap­ples in their trays and can safely han­dle up to 120 fruit per minute which is the equiv­a­lent of two peo­ple, is al­ready op­er­at­ing in pack­houses in New Zealand and the USA.

Ro­bot­ics Plus ap­ple pack­ers are the first of a suite of tech­nolo­gies to be com­mer­cially launched, which aim to ad­dress ma­jor is­sues in the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try caused by labour short­ages and in­creas­ing con­sumer demand for fresh fruit. Other tech­nolo­gies un­der de­vel­op­ment, at var­i­ous stages of com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion, in­clude an au­ton­o­mous agri­cul­tural ve­hi­cle, ro­botic ki­wifruit har­vester, ro­botic pol­li­na­tor, crop es­ti­ma­tor, and a num­ber of con­fi­den­tial projects.

Dr Glenn says the com­pany is well sup­ported in its vi­sion to grow into a truly global busi­ness that will trans­form a num­ber of in­dus­tries.

“Ro­bot­ics Plus has es­tab­lished valu­able re­search re­la­tion­ships with the Univer­sity of Waikato, the Univer­sity of Auck­land, Massey Univer­sity and Plant & Food Re­search. We’re also a found­ing part­ner of Plan­tTech, a new, in­dus­try- led re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion based in the Western Bay of Plenty. Our in­no­va­tion and growth plans are well sup­ported by Govern­ment agen­cies, Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion, NZTE, MBIE, MPI and TPK.”

A key fo­cus for Ro­bot­ics Plus in the com­ing months will be ac­tively re­cruit­ing more en­gi­neers, to add to their team of 27 staff and 8 re­searchers, to keep pace with the global demand for their in­no­va­tion.

DR MATT GLENN

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