Why Rockwell Automation Is Buying Clearpath Robotics

By Amit Chowdhry ● Sep 8, 2023

Rockwell Automation – which is the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation – recently announced it has signed a definitive agreement to buy Ontario, Canada-based Clearpath Robotics, a leader in autonomous robotics for industrial applications. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are considered the next frontier in industrial automation and transformation, and this acquisition will supercharge Rockwell’s lead in bringing the Connected Enterprise to life.

Moving parts and materials to assembly lines and between manufacturing cells is one of the industry’s most complex and inefficient tasks, often resulting in production bottlenecks. And autonomous production logistics will transform the workflow throughout a manufacturing plant, enabling substantial reductions in cost and greater operational efficiency. Clearpath’s OTTO Motors Division (see the Pulse 2.0 profile here) offers AMRs and fleet management and navigation software, which drastically increases throughput and reduce costs by ensuring components and subassemblies are in place when needed and by transporting finished goods to a truck or warehouse upon completion.

Combined with Rockwell’s strong continuing partnerships in fixed robotic arms solutions like Independent Cart Technology and traditional leadership in programmable logic controllers (PLCs), the addition of OTTO Motors’ AMR capabilities will create a complete portfolio of advanced material handling solutions unmatched in the industry. According to Interact Analysis, the market for AMRs in manufacturing is expected to grow around 30% per year over the next five years, with an estimated market size of $6.2 billion by 2027. This acquisition is expected to contribute a percentage point to Rockwell’s fiscal 2024 revenue growth.

The data from Rockwell’s offerings and OTTO Motors’ AMRs will be harnessed in AI-powered Software as a Service information management applications like those by Rockwell’s Plex and Fiix businesses. And Rockwell will deliver a unified solution for manufacturing, enabling autonomous execution and optimization to increase efficiency and allow for traceability and real-time adjustments. This combined technology will also amplify Kalypso’s production logistics consulting practice.

Launched in 2009, Clearpath started by offering robotics technology to global research and development markets and launched its OTTO Motors Division in 2015.

The deal will be funded by a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Rockwell’s investment in PTC. And the deal is subject to customary regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of Rockwell’s fiscal year 2024. After the deal closes, Clearpath will report to Rockwell’s Intelligent Devices operating segment.


“Rockwell and Clearpath together will simplify the difficult and labor-intensive task of moving materials and product through an orchestrated and safe system to optimize operations throughout the entire manufacturing facility. The combination of autonomous robots and PLC-based line control has long been a dream of plant managers in industries as diverse as automotive and consumer packaged goods. With Clearpath, Rockwell is uniquely positioned to make that dream a reality across virtually all discrete and hybrid verticals, optimizing planning, operations, and the workforce.”

— Blake Moret, Chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation

“Industrial customers are under ever-increasing pressure to do more with less. Autonomous production logistics is becoming a necessity to meet targets and stay competitive. We are excited to join Rockwell and help expand their leadership position in advanced material handling. Together, we will create safer and more productive workplaces with autonomous technology.”

— Matt Rendall, co-founder and CEO of Clearpath