A new manufacturing robot named Baxter has found a home at The Rodon Group. Baxter is the brainchild of Rethink Robotics of Boston, MA. This new manufacturing tool is a user-friendly robot created to help American manufacturing companies compete more effectively. The robot can be used to complete repetitive production tasks and will complement The Rodon Group’s highly automated facility.
According to Rethink, “Baxter is America’s first adaptive manufacturing robot. Designed to use common sense and work safely alongside people, it will take U.S. manufacturers’ productivity to new heights—and deliver a true competitive edge.”
The Rodon Group, a high volume plastic injection molder, is on the cutting edge of the automation revolution. “Rodon’s automation partner ONExia has been instrumental in helping Rodon become an early adopter of Baxter. Being the competent integrators they are, ONExia knew the wide range of tasks we expect from our robots. As a custom molder Rodon has a myriad of requirements that constantly evolve with new jobs, and the versatility of Baxter will be a huge asset moving forward”, said Tony Hofmann, Rodon’s Facility Manager.
Less complicated tasks are perfectly suited to Baxter. Within a few hours of testing, Baxter was packing boxes on The Rodon Group’s factory floor. With built in sensors to make Baxter “aware” of its surroundings, this robot can be deployed near people and trained by the workers it is assisting. No lines of programming are necessary.
A big advantage is that Baxter does not require safety guarding or enclosures. Working alongside one of Rodon’s operators, Baxter can be shown how to perform a task and be re-purposed as needed. Rethink Robotics estimates it takes 10 minutes to train Baxter to do a task. This allows the plant operators to focus on more complex and production-critical assignments. Initially, Baxter will be utilized to help pack K’NEX construction toys, specifically tracks for the Mario Kart Wii ™ racing sets but there are several other applications in mind for down the road.
The commitment to American Manufacturing is clearly demonstrated at The Rodon Group. Rethink Robotics is working to support this mission through the development of Baxter. This robot will help improve the productivity on the factory floor and allow people to focus on more value added work, thus helping to keep production from going off-shore. These robots are designed and manufactured in the U.S and Rodon is excited about this new technology investment.
More information about Rethink Robotics and Onexia can be found at http://www.rethinkrobotics.com; http://www.onexia.com