Robots are not new to The Rodon Group. We introduced the first robotics to our plastic injection presses back in 2004. Since that time, we have expanded their use as well as their sophistication. Today, nearly 50% of our presses utilize robots that stack and orient parts into shipping containers. This increases plant productivity and reduces packaging waste by tripling the number of parts packed into cartons. We utilize KEYENCE Vision Inspection systems and Mitutoyo QuickVision systems to inspect parts and maintain our high quality control standards.
Tony Hofmann, Facilities Manager at The Rodon Group says the company has been on the cutting edge of robotics automation. “In the early days of robot automation, auto companies were likely to use them to complete dirty, dangerous and difficult tasks. Today’s robots use artificial intelligence and have added significant value to the manufacturing process and our ability to compete globally" states Tony. "From the late ‘90’s on, we knew robots were the piece of the puzzle that we needed. We just needed to figure out how to use them to our best advantage, and be willing to learn and adapt along the way. And we did.”
With the help of our plant automation partners, Onexia, we will soon be the proud owners of our very own Baxter Robot developed by Rethink Robotics, Inc. In fact, Rodon will be one of the first manufacturing companies in the area to make use of this new exciting technology. Baxter is a new kind of robot that is easily trained, and affordable. “Unlike its predecessors, Baxter is an adaptive manufacturing robot. It contains cameras, sensors and sophisticated software that enable it to “see” objects, “feel” forces and “understand” tasks. The result is a robot that automatically adapts to changing environments—it knows what you mean and does what you expect.” states the Rethink Robotics website. “Baxter is also significantly less expensive than traditional industrial robots—and much easier to deploy. It can be up and running in under an hour. Train it like you would any other worker – through demonstration. No software engineering or teaching pendant required.”
This new star of factory automation was recently featured on the CBS News Magazine, 60 Minutes.
The next generation of automation is sure to give a beneficial boost to our economy. U.S. manufacturing has been automating many of their manufacturing processes over the last few decades. Lean manufacturing principles, combined with the best of robotics has made American manufacturing more efficient than ever before. These important changes along with the higher costs of off-shoring production in terms of freight, labor and product quality have positioned American manufacturers to take the lead once more.