Wood Component Manufacturer Lays the Groundwork for Growth with Collaborative Robotics

At Walnut Creek Planing, Rethink Robotics' Baxter is Feeding Wood-Shaping Machines and Facilitating Smooth Transitions on New Lines

BOSTON, Dec. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- To maintain competitive prices and improve product quality, Walnut Creek Planing has integrated two of Rethink Robotics' Baxter robots onto its manufacturing line.

In reaction to rising demand, Walnut Creek sought a flexible and interactive solution that could help get new lines up and running quickly, as well as fill in unexpected gaps in production.

Baxter is running three shifts per day, forming precise parts for a new product line by taking raw, dimensioned parts and feeding them into the overhead magazine of a wood-shaping machine - a cumbersome, physically-demanding task.

Headquartered in Ohio, Walnut Creek Planing's products are used throughout the U.S. in the construction of stairs, doors and furniture.

"We're always looking for ways to streamline operations and improve our processes. Baxter gives us a whole new level of flexibility as we continue to grow our team and expand production as demand increases and new lines are added," said Kenric Krantzer, engineering and maintenance manager at Walnut Creek Planing. "The more we use collaborative automation, the more we've seen our company grow."

Walnut Creek is one of the first wood manufacturers in the U.S. to roll out collaborative robotics on the plant floor, using Baxter to perform ergonomically difficult jobs, and in turn, enabling employees to manage processes and take on more complex tasks.

With two Baxter robots already deployed, Walnut Creek plans to add two more robots to its team in the coming year, with drill feeding applications already in mind.

"Manufacturers need smart, capable robots that can bridge the gap between traditional automation and human employees," said Jim Lawton, CMO of Rethink Robotics. "This feeding task is a perfect example of an application that traditional automation cannot cost-effectively execute and can also be difficult and potentially dangerous for humans."

For more information, please visit www.rethinkrobotics.com.

About Rethink Robotics

Rethink Robotics, Inc. helps manufacturers meet the challenges of an agile economy with an integrated workforce, combining trainable, safe and cost-effective robots with skilled labor. Its Baxter robot, driven by Intera, an advanced software platform, gives world-class manufacturers and distributors in automotive, plastics, consumer goods, electronics and more, a workforce multiplier that optimizes labor. With Rethink Robotics, manufacturers increase flexibility, lower costs and can invest in skilled labor—all advantages in fueling continuous innovation and sustainable competitive advantage.

Committed to accelerating robotics innovation in manufacturing and beyond, Rethink Robotics' Baxter Research Robot gives academic and corporate research environments a humanoid robot platform with integrated sensors and an open software development kit for creating custom applications.

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the company is funded by Bezos Expeditions, Charles River Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Two Sigma Ventures. For more information about Rethink Robotics, please visit www.rethinkrobotics.com

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