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RISE Robotics raises $3M in additional funding; electric linear actuation systems

RISE Robotics, a leader in high-performance and cost-effective electric linear actuation solutions, raised $3 million in additional funding. The funding round was led by The Engine, the venture firm spun out of MIT that invests in early-stage Tough Tech companies.

Linear actuators create the push-and-pull movements in the mechanisms of heavy machinery which are essential for lifting and loading materials across many industries, including: construction, agriculture, and waste management. Without linear actuators excavators couldn’t dig, garbage trucks couldn’t crush, and forklifts couldn’t lift.

The majority of heavy machines today rely on hydraulic systems, powered by diesel, to enable motion. It is the most essential, but also the most wasteful component in the overall motion system, producing an estimated 55 million tons of CO2 annually in the US alone according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As OEMs are forced to adapt their products to comply with imminent emissions regulations, the industry has struggled with the slow pace of innovation and high cost of using electricity as a power source for heavy machinery.

RISE Robotics partners with heavy machinery manufacturers to implement a fully-electric movement platform as a replacement for hydraulic systems. Built around a unique electrically-powered mechanical linear actuator, the RISE platform has all the abilities and power of hydraulics, but vastly improved efficiency and control.

Hybrid and electric retrofits to existing hydraulic systems are more expensive than the existing diesel systems and are much harder to control. Hydraulics are slowing and literally weighing down the adoption of electrically powered heavy machines. The RISE platform offers a completely new mechanical motion technology that makes electric-powered motor-to-movement solutions possible. It’s a game changer for any manufacturer trying to electrify its heavy machinery.

—Arron Acosta, CEO and Co-founder of RISE Robotics

The RISE Cylinder is the core of the platform; the cylindrical package delivers hydraulic performance in a robust linear actuator design that can perform under extreme circumstances for extended maintenance-free service.

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Driven by modern brushless motors and lubricated for life, the cylinder eliminates fluids, doubles runtime, halves fuel consumption, and charges batteries with hybrid regeneration.

The RISE platform is a sealed electrically powered and digitally controlled system of steel cables and pulleys. This cable-driven actuation system offers levels of control not possible with traditional hydraulics, and far greater speed than a screw-based linear actuator.

The additional funding will support RISE Robotics’ work with a leading forklift manufacturer to accelerate the electrification of its machinery, increasing the performance of the manufacturer’s existing electric forklifts and enabling the electrification of its larger scale machinery, which is currently diesel-fueled.

Reed Sturtevant, a General Partner of The Engine, and angel investor Walter A. Winshall will join RISE Robotics’ Board of Directors.

It takes a lot to make a machine move. Displacing hydraulics is just the first application of RISE Robotics’ IP for improving motion and electrifying heavy machinery. Their research, approach and systems will be crucial in evolving how other key mechanical components work, but most importantly these innovations to the fundamentals of how machinery moves will lead the industry toward not just compliance with emissions standards but helping heavy machinery become an oil-free, zero emissions industry in the future.

—Reed Sturtevant

RISE Robotics' co-founders Arron Acosta and Blake Sessions met while at MIT and formed the company with Toomas Sepp and Kyle Dell’Aquila. The company was part of the Techstars accelerator and has received angel funding from notable Boston investors and advisors including John P. Strauss, William J. Warner, and Walter A. Winshall. RISE Robotics has two commercial agreements, one with a major manufacturer of lifting machinery, and another with the US Air Force.

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