IDEC Corporation announces that it has acquired 80% of the shares of ez-Wheel SAS (Headquarters: France, “ez-Wheel”) as of August 1, 2023. This follows the strategic partnership agreement signed between IDEC and ez-Wheel on January 24, 2022.
ez-Wheel was founded in Angoulême, France in 2009 with the mission of developing easier and safer means of transporting goods. They developed the world’s first self-propelled wheel in 2010, and the world’s first safe autonomous wheel in 2021. Self-propelled wheels incorporate driveline (motor, drive, gearbox) and control/safety elements within a single device. These products are an excellent fit for automated guided vehicles (AGVs), autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), mobile conveyors, material handling, and electrification of any type of motion or power assist device. All these categories are experiencing rapid growth throughout various industries to support progress in global automation, address labor shortages, and improve the safety and well-being of workers by reducing the burden of many tasks. In addition, ez-Wheel products are helping AGV/AMR designers to easily integrate and develop new equipment—and also to evolve legacy designs—for best compliance with safety requirements.
IDEC will strengthen the research and development of the ez-Wheel team, and it will expand global sales of these mobility solutions in conjunction with complementary IDEC products, such as human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and safety-related equipment. These efforts will support IDEC’s HMI transformation (HMI-X) initiative to provide optimal, intuitive, and safe human-machine interactions, with a focus on human well-being.
Key ez-Wheel products include the Electric Power Assist Wheel (EPAW) used for reducing the burden of transporting heavy loads on existing carts and trolleys, and the Safety Wheel Drive (SWD) which facilitates the development and certification of AGVs, AMRs, and other automated logistics applications. The SWD is equipped with safety operation monitoring functions as required by international safety standard ISO 3691-4, so it can be used in environments where people and robots coexist.