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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Automation Firms Thrive Amid Labour Shortages

Image credits: GrayMatter Robotics

Despite a cooling in robotics funding since its 2021-2022 peaks, labour shortages continue to fuel growth at automation firms like GrayMatter.


Analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2028, half of large enterprise companies will employ robots in their warehouse and manufacturing processes. This ongoing labour shortage is a significant driver behind venture funding in the automation sector.


Warehouse and logistics robotics have a proven track record, unlike many theoretical ROI approaches to automation. From Amazon to smaller firms, robots are actively enhancing productivity. GrayMatter, a Southern California firm, is a standout in this field. The company reports a 2-4x improvement in production line productivity and a 30% or more reduction in consumable waste. Big names like 3M utilise GrayMatter's systems, showcasing their effectiveness.


Founded in 2020, GrayMatter is relatively young but has quickly made a mark. Co-founder and CEO Ariyan Kabir states, “We founded GrayMatter to enhance productivity while prioritising workforce well-being. With our physics-based AI-powered systems, we are fulfilling our mission while unlocking new levels of efficiency and productivity.”


 

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So, what is a “physics-based” robotics system? Unlike purely data-driven methods, GrayMatter’s approach limits the model space based on physical constraints, requiring less data for training while ensuring computational performance. This method avoids the pitfalls of noisy data that can plague simple neural networks.


Interest in GrayMatter has propelled its growth, with the company frequently appearing in robotics job opening posts. Recently, GrayMatter announced a $45 million Series B funding round, led by Wellington Management and supported by several other venture partners. This round nearly doubles the $25 million Series A the company closed in 2022.


GrayMatter's innovative approach and robust funding position it well to address the critical labour shortages in manufacturing, making it a company to watch in the automation landscape.




 

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