Meet Heico Sandee, CTO and Co-Founder at Flexible Robotic Solutions Provider: Smart Robotics

Heico Sandee

I founded Smart Robotics in 2015 with my co-founder Mark Menting. We had both come to realize that the robotics industry didn’t provide solutions that address the need for flexibility and functionality.

The need for an integrated approach to robotics wasn’t being catered to in the market. Since our conception, our focus has largely been creating robots, cobots, software, grippers and so on, that enable people and the logistics industry to function more efficiently. While robots are stereotyped as replacements for human workers, we’ve designed our robots to work with people.

You don’t need to be a technician to work with these technologies. Innovation in this industry has been paramount to our success, and a large part of this comes down to providing our customers with solutions. We now have customers in 15+ countries across the world and our team of four has now grown to 70+ people.

Smart Robotics - pick and place robots - warehouse automation

What do you think makes this company unique?

We are a human focused robotics company and while robotics is the core of our business, everything is designed to work cooperatively with workers. Each robot or cobot can be installed in 4 hours, with workers also being trained in that same time. A formal education is not required to use or work with our robots, and these robots fill a role which is repetitive and physically straining on human workers.

Many logistics businesses struggle to fill this role, and these robots and cobots address these job shortages while also providing new roles for those in the industry. The robots are designed to mimic human movement, meaning that parcels and packages are treated much more carefully in comparison to jarred and fast movements (which may cause breakage).

We use a model which we call our Technology Trinity. This refers to Smart Robotics unique combination of motion, vision, and task planning, which allows our robots and cobots to be extremely reliable.This holistic approach to robotics allows us to be enablers rather than replacements.

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

In the past few years, there has been an increasing demand for robotics solutions. We have, and still are, developing new robots, cobots, software and more to fill customers’ needs. Oftentimes improved technology and innovation comes from addressing pain points within the industry. This could be something as simple as reducing use of resources (time, effort, or otherwise).

We also work with technical universities and spend a lot of time researching and understanding where we can improve. Our goal is to work smarter, not harder, so automation of repetitive tasks is a large focus for us. We want to make the quality of work (for both humans and robots) better overall.

What can we hope to see from Smart Robotics in the future?

We currently have some new machine variations in the works. This is something we’ve been working on for a while now, and will be launching these later this year. As of August, we have a new product being launched for item picking. Later in the year we’ll also be launching new variations of our palletizing solution to fit the specific needs of our clients and the logistics industry.

I can’t share too many details at the moment but to summarize, we are still expanding and growing. The industry seems to show no sign of slowing down and we hope to continue to provide more accessible and innovative solutions.


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