- Amazon said last week it had agreed to buy a Belgium-based supplier for mechatronics equipment, Cloostermans, provided regulatory approval. Amazon did not disclose the terms or timeline for the deal.
- The two companies began working together in 2019. Since then, Amazon has used Cloostermans technology to move and stack heavy pallets and totes, or to help package products at its facilities.
- The retail giant intends to fold the former supplier and its 200 employees into Amazon Global Robotics. Amazon said in a blog post it intends to focus Cloostermans’ engineering work to “more rapidly deploy solutions” that support employees, improve safety and reduce packaging waste.
Retailers often invest in or purchase robotics equipment to bolster warehouse productivity. For Amazon, the playbook includes acquisitions.
The retail giant built its robotics division, Amazon Robotics, off of an acquisition of Kiva Systems in 2012. Since then, the company has used the division to research, invest in and acquire fulfillment technology. As of 2022, the company has at least a dozen “types of robotics systems” deployed in its facilities worldwide, according to a blog post.
Now, Cloostermans joins the likes of Kiva and Canvas Technology as robotics companies folded into Amazon, though its technology offerings are broader in scope.
As a made-to-order manufacturer, Cloostermans offers more than machinery to Amazon. It also brings manufacturing and assembly capacity, as well as expertise in mechanical and electrical engineering, according to the company’s website. The manufacturer is also a supplier to other companies, such as Procter & Gamble.
In its blog post about the deal, Amazon emphasized Cloostermans’ ability to customize, design and manufacture technology. Over the past few years, Amazon has invested more in its technology design capabilities by starting research labs in the U.S. and Europe and inventing products like Proteus, a fully autonomous mobile robot.
“Expanding our design and manufacturing capabilities is just one of the many ways Amazon continues to invest in technologies within our operations,” Amazon said in its blog post.