Estonian company Cleveron hopes to install thousands of package terminals across US
Cleveron, a Viljandi-based producer of automated package machines, premiered its first PackRobot at a Walmart store in the US in September. The exact number of robots to be installed at Walmart was not disclosed, yet the Estonian company plans on reaching 15,000 units total across the pond.
US retail chain Walmart is huge: they are the retail business with the world's biggest turnover, employing a total of over two million people, and come in second place only to Amazon in e-commerce turnover.
E-commerce, however, requires solid logistics, and this is where Estonian business Cleveron, whose headquarters are located in Viljandi, comes into play. The company's PackRobots, which will begin serving more and more Walmart customers in the future, are likewise built in the Southern Estonian city.
Customers making purchases from Walmart's online store can order their goods to be delivered to the Cleveron PackRobot for pickup. The first unit is already up and running in Bentonville, Arkansas, home of the retail giant's headquarters.
"The first PackRobot has been in Walmart since mid-September," confirmed Cleveron founder and board member Arno Kütt. "So far we have received very positive feedback from there; clients have embraced [the package terminal]."
Cleveron's PackRobot technology was likewise developed in Viljandi. The company considers the opportunity to get its foot in the door with the first automated package machine on the US market to be its breakthrough moment. This was achieved in cooperation with machine maintenance firm Bell&Howell, with whom the Estonian company signed a cooperation agreement one year ago; certification and testing followed the signing of the contract.
"The existence of such a partner was a prerequisite for cooperation with Walmart," explained Kütt. "Over 700 maintenance workers across the US work for Bell&Howell, and they will be maintaining our machines."
In the future, assembly is expected to take place on location in the US as well.