Keith Wanner, Founder of RobotWorx, was honored with a big surprise on Tuesday! The company employees put together a beautiful pictorial wall display that depicted the incredible journey of the company’s amazing success. Jay Byrd, Vice President of RobotWorx, said, “We wanted to honor Keith in his 23 years of business. He bravely tapped into an unknown market of used industrial robots and became a pioneer in the business. We are proud of him and his accomplishments."
Caleb McCoy, a company employee, remembers the day of celebration, “Keith came by around 9:40 a.m. and we brought out every employee to celebrate his and the company’s achievements over the years. We unveiled the history wall and he was just so humble.”
RobotWorx all began in 1992 in Keith’s spare bedroom in Indianapolis, IN. The idea started as a consulting company, called ROI (Return on Investment). Before starting RobotWorx, Mr. Wanner worked for a number of robotic companies. He gained valuable experience, but also found that many customers were dissatisfied with the quality of service as well as being disillusioned about robots. Hoping to change this, Mr. Wanner established RobotWorx.
The first robot that Keith every purchased is still alive in his memory today. It was 1996, and he was using a bulldozer to bring it into his home garage to recondition, when it almost came crashing to the ground off of the lift. He remembered thinking, “That could have been the end of RobotWorx!”
Later that year, Keith sold his first Panasonic “Flamingo” robot. He tried to be a Panasonic integrator and they wouldn’t give him the time of day. Here is when RobotWorx began to evolve! Keith decided to purchase a few used Panasonic robots, not knowing if there was really a market for them (this was before the used/reconditioned market was established). He had a website set up called robotman.com and just a few weeks after he bought the used Panasonic robots, someone sent in a request on his website for those robots! It was a significant moment for him as he knew this idea could actually go somewhere.
Another very significant moment for Keith was on September 11, 2001. He remembers welding a specific part when hearing the news about the WTC. After this terrible event, many integrators were wiped out of business with the market crash. RobotWorx, however, really focused on selling reconditioned robots at low prices with high-quality guarantees and the business brought some light to this industry and really blossomed during these hard times. Keith’s goal was to fill a gap in the market between large, full-service robot integrators and small welding distributors installing robots.
Over the next few years, RobotWorx’ internet presence really started gaining strength and in 2004 the the domain www.robots.com was acquired. That is when things really started to take off!
Since then, RobotWorx has not only done a fantastic job helping the robotic industry, but they have also given back to the community. RobotWorx has sponsored a number of robotic clubs and local athletes, donated robots to the Columbus, OH COSI science museum, donated to Ohio State University of Marion, and donated to and supported universities in creating industrial robotics programs.
In 2012 RobotWorx was Awarded the National Philanthropy Award for Outstanding Small Corporation.
So a big thanks to our welding engineer, entrepreneur, founder, and ultimately friend, Mr. Keith Wanner. Thank you for dreaming big, working hard, and believing in the quality of service and robots.