OTTO Motors partners with Altech to address growing demand in Japan

Feb 13, 2020   Supply Chain

OTTO Motors, the industrial division of Clearpath Robotics Inc, announced its entrance into the Japanese market. The move marks Ontario-based OTTO’s first expansion outside North America. OTTO Motors produces self-driving vehicles that move materials within manufacturing and warehousing facilities.

OTTO is partnering with Altech, a specialised trading company that imports advanced machinery and equipment from Europe and the United States to support Japanese industrial companies. The companies announced their partnership at RoboDEX2020, an annual robot development and application expo being held in Tokyo.


“This is a big moment for OTTO Motors,” said Richard Baker, OTTO’s Chief Revenue Officer  “Our innovative self-driving vehicles have been helping modernise factories throughout the United States and Canada since 2015. OTTO Motors entered the Japan market in 2018, and with several successful deployments completed, we are expanding our efforts in Japan working alongside Altech.”  


Together, OTTO Motors and Altech have already begun to serve customers in the automotive, logistics, food and industrial equipment industries. One such customer is HIROTEC, a leading Tier 1 automotive parts supplier to Mazda. HIROTEC installed 3 OTTO self-driving vehicles within its Hiroshima plant to deliver Mazda door panels to welding cells as part of a mission-critical process. 


The OTTO materials handling platform allowed HIROTEC to easily reconfigure its process to improve material movement efficiency and increase throughput. By installing 3 OTTO self-driving vehicles, HIROTEC was able to eliminate the need for 8 legacy AGVs (Autonomous Guided Vehicles). This will be the second deployment of OTTOs within HIROTEC, they were first deployed at HIROTEC AMERICAS in 2017 to automate spare parts production.   


OTTO’s expansion in Japan and partnership with Altech come at an important time for the market. While there is a lot of attention on self-driving passenger vehicles, self-driving industrial vehicles, such as OTTO’s fleet of autonomous mobile robots and carts, are transforming material handling in numerous factories and warehouses.


Demand in Japan will be particularly high because of the country’s demographic inversion. Having fewer young people than older people means that there is not enough labour supply to do all the work needed to power the economy. Japanese manufacturers must rely on self-driving vehicles and other forms of industrial automation because there simply are not enough humans to do all the work that needs to be done.

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