Astor – Kraków firm leading the way in robotics
Kraków is better known for dragons than robots. But this is changing
In the popular imagination, Kraków is better known for dragons than robots. But gradually, this is changing, as the city becomes known for companies working in IT, automation and robotics. Among these companies is Kraków-based ASTOR. With its name composed of the Polish acronym for Automation, Steering, Transmission, Software and Robotics, the company has become a leading supplier of solutions in these areas.
With the Polish government banking on innovation, ASTOR is a successful example of the intersection between business and technology. Amid rising interest in automation and robotics globally and, more gradually, in Poland, the company is ahead of the curve.
CEO Stefan Życzkowski founded ASTOR with his brother in 1987, shortly before the collapse of communism in Poland, with initial capital of 100 dollars. Thirty years on, ASTOR specialises in a range of sectors, from the power industry to municipal infrastructure. It aims to provide companies with solutions to questions such as “How can we effectively and without risk introduce automation and robotics at a production plant?” These include automated palletisation, packaging and factory maintenance. Through these solutions, Astor aims to help its clients lower costs, improve quality, safeguard operations and improve people’s comfort.
The company’s work has been recognised: it is among the Kraków-based companies selected to be ambassadors of the surrounding region at the international level in the “Brand Map of the Małopolska Region” published this month. It ranked highly in the report’s index portraying strength and brand development potential.
Poland has just 14 robots per 1000 workers, compared to 261 in Germany, notes the company on its website, citing an International Federation of Robotics report from 2013. Now is the time for Polish production plants to invest in automation to maintain their competitive advantage, it argues.
Despite its expertise in automation and robotics, Astor remains people-focused. Its motto, “technology meets people”, is a reminder that money or machines alone will not bring business success. “What I’m mainly proud of is the people creating ASTOR,” says Życzkowski, the company’s co-founder and CEO, quoted in the Brand Map report. “Since its establishment, ASTOR has built a brand based on authentic relations with clients, suppliers and business partners.”