manufacturing

Could robots be the future of manufacturing in Peoria? This entrepreneur is betting on it

Sudheer Sajja of Pringle Robotics stands with three versions of his service robots at the company’s Peoria headquarters. The autonomous machines can be used for serving, delivery, escorting and cleaning. Sajja aims to manufacture the robots in Peoria.

PEORIA – A Peoria entrepreneur has found a way to ease workforce challenges brought on by the pandemic, and Peoria stands to profit from it.

Sudheer Sajja wants to build a manufacturing facility to assemble robots in Peoria. His company, Pringle Robotics, has already successfully launched with robots built overseas. Sajja wants to bring manufacturing into the U.S. to eliminate importation taxes.

Sajja is a software developer and entrepreneur who helped found Pringle Technology Inc., a company that develops software suites tailored to different types of businesses. One of the suites it created helps restaurants with online ordering, so Sajja saw firsthand the difficulty restaurants were having in hiring and retaining staff during the pandemic. He decided to create a robot to help ease the workload.

More in business: Founders say Peoria ‘checked all the boxes’ when launching new high-tech research lab

“We researched on how can we automate moving stuff from the kitchen to the tables, and also back from the tables to the dishwasher. That’s when we looked at LIDAR, the technology that is used by most driverless cars,” said Sajja. “Then we came up with our own mini chassis, which moves from point A to point B, moving around objects and things.”

Sajja built his first robot in the basement of his Peoria home. Helping him with the first test run were his twin daughters, Saanvi and Anvi, who were 8 years old at the time.

A KettyBot delivery and escort robot moves through a hallway at Hickory Grove Elementary School in Dunlap.

A KettyBot delivery and escort robot moves through a hallway at Hickory Grove Elementary School in Dunlap.

“We simulated restaurant seating in the garage, putting chairs there,” said Sajja. “One of them acted like a person coming to dine, another one a person bringing the food. And then we made as if food is being transferred from the kitchen to a specific table.”

Though Sajja’s first robot was designed for use in a restaurant, it’s not the only type of robot the company makes. Sajja has also built a disinfection robot equipped with a UVC light and a tank of disinfecting liquid for cleaning public areas – a task he believes will be in demand long into the future.

Peoria business: Peoria distillery gets cash infusion from British investors, with sights set on expanding

“What we’ve learned from all of this COVID and omicron and any virus that is out there in the future, we cannot be standing back and hearing about the next new virus. The bottom line is, we need to be combating these viruses. How do we do that? We need to step up levels of sanitation,” said Sajja, who believes the demand for sanitation robots will likely exceed the demand for delivery robots.

“Just look at the Hickory Grove example,” said Sajja about Hickory Grove Elementary School, where both types of robots are being tested. “They used to do deep cleaning once a month. Now with this, they do deep cleaning once every day – 90,000 square feet in three hours. That’s amazing coverage. And deep cleaning is not something they need to plan for anymore,” said Sajja. “When you up the levels of sanitation, you are killing 99.9% of pathogens. Students will be comfortable, parents will be comfortable, staff will be comfortable — it gives peace of mind for all the constituents in a school environment.”

Pringle Robotics – Hickory Grove Elementary from Pringle Technologies Inc on Vimeo.

Peoria city councilman Kiran Velupa said Pringle Robotics could be a game changer for Peoria in its efforts to attract new business to the area. Velupa, who is good friends with Sajja, encouraged him to locate his corporate offices here.

“I don’t want to say that I am the reason behind it, but honestly, he wasn’t sure. He just floated the idea, and I took advantage of my position on the council. I told him this was an opportunity that he should look at.”

Velupa initially recruited fellow City Council member Sid Ruckriegel because he owns a chain of restaurants that might find the delivery robots useful, but ultimately the collaboration turned into much more. Sajja is now considering sites for his new facility, said Velupa.

An Android-based screen allows a KettyBot delivery robot to be programmed with different locations, in this case, classrooms at Hickory Grove Elementary School in Dunlap.

An Android-based screen allows a KettyBot delivery robot to be programmed with different locations, in this case, classrooms at Hickory Grove Elementary School in Dunlap.

“He doesn’t want to use an existing building. I don’t know if he told you, he wants to build a building in the shape of his robot,” said Velupa.

In addition to gaining a new commercial building, Peoria stands to benefit through the creation of jobs. Sajja said he plans to hire. Pringle Robotics currently employs about 15 people, with plans to grow to 50 in the near future.

Leslie Renken can be reached at 309-370-5087 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Pringle Robotics wants to bring robot manufacturing to Peoria

https://www.yahoo.com/now/could-robots-future-manufacturing-peoria-104601100.html

You may also like