British online supermarket and technology group Ocado has agreed to buy materials handling robotics start-up Myrmex Inc for €10.2 million, it said on Monday.
Ocado acquired a minority stake in Athens-based Myrmex in 2020 and tasked it with developing a system that automates the loading of containers with customer orders onto frames ready for dispatch from Ocado's warehouses.
The 'Automated Frameload' solution it developed is set to go live in Ocado's warehouses later this year.
'An Important Step'
“We are excited to welcome Myrmex to Ocado Group," commented James Gralton, chief engineering officer at Ocado Technology. "We’ve been impressed with Myrmex’s capabilities and their ability to design, develop and bring to market bespoke solutions.
"This acquisition is another important step on our automation journey and provides an opportunity to further grow and expand our engineering presence in Southern Europe as we continue to invest in developing Myrmex’s technologies for the Ocado Smart Platform.”
Suite Of Technologies
It is part of a suite of innovations, also including lightweight robots and hi-tech van routing systems, that Ocado unveiled in January.
Ocado said Myrmex's technology also has potential applications for store locations, specifically for automating the grocery order pick-up process.
Myrmex has developed products and solutions applicable to a variety of processes in Ocado’s CFCs, the group said.
Earlier this year, Ocado forecast capital expenditure would increase in 2022, driven by the worldwide roll-out of its Ocado Smart Platform.