Canadian startup Omnirobotic today announced it would soon begin on-site field testing for its industrial painting robot to locations in Canada and the U.S., with larger rollouts set to begin in early 2019.
The Laval, Quebec-based company said its development phase is now complete. Omnirobotic will begin delivering its autonomous painting robot, OmniPainter, to two Quebec-based companies and two U.S.-based companies. It also plans to complete four additional testing pilot programs next year.
Canada facing shortage of industrial painters
Francois Simard, CEO and founder at Omnirobotic, said he believes the shortage of industrial painters is one of the biggest issues affecting the growth of manufacturing companies, with workforce shortages threatening a company’s survival.
“The unemployment rate in Canada is at a historical low, and the shortage of industrial painters makes it difficult for manufacturers to attract and retain qualified workers,” Simard said in a statement. “That’s not even taking into account the number of workers heading for retirement.”
Simard said that in Quebec alone, there are 5,000 industrial painters, with a 96% average occupancy rate, and 49% of those painters will need to be replaced in the next five years. Omnirobotic’s research and stats from Emploi Quebec indicates that there are hundreds of jobs available in Quebec for industrial painters.
The OmniPainter robot, which has been in development for the past two years, is able to solve problems of custom-made products from manufacturers. The company said many manufacturers were not able to automate operations because custom items were being produced in small batches and were too varied for most systems.
“By creating the first autonomous robot painter in the world, we think we have found the solution to this problem,” Simard said. “It’s not complicated; our robot knows how to paint anything that comes into its field of vision.”
Omnirobotic also said many clients have confirmed their intent to purchase a beta-stage OmniPainter without even having seen the product in action.
The company plans to show the OmniPainter at next week’s WinDoor 2018 event in Quebec City, where attendees can see the product in action through an “actual reproduction of a painting plant.” On Dec. 5, the company plans to hold an on-site demonstration at Societe Laurentide Inc., in Shawinigan.
Following these events, Omnirobotic said it will roll out marketing for the OmniPainter in 2019 and 2020 across Canada and the U.S. In June, the company announced a $1 million seed round funding, led by Element AI.