Baxter Robot Injects Packaging Innovation into Leading Plastics Manufacturer

Rethink Robotics' Baxter Robot Streamlines Packaging Process at Koller-Craft Plastics

BOSTON, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Koller-Craft Plastics has joined the ranks of the world's most innovative manufacturers by adding a smart, collaborative robot to its custom injection molding processes. Working an average of 96 hours a week, Rethink Robotics' Baxter robot is freeing up employees' time for more complex and detailed tasks, by taking on the tedious job of packaging custom parts into a tote.


"The flexibility Baxter has provided allows us to better assign our employees to positions where they are needed, improving our manufacturing processes and production significantly," said Mike Ewing, operations manager at Koller-Craft's Fenton, MO facility. "Baxter's force-sensing capabilities have opened the doors for us to consider many potential applications the robot can help with. Our whole team is coming up with new ways to use the robot."

Sorting and packaging on a line that produces parts made four at a time every half minute, Koller-Craft was able to deploy Baxter without interrupting the production line, unlike many other automation solutions. In light of immediate returns, the company is planning to deploy more Baxter robots in its facilities.

As a leading provider of injection molded plastic components, Koller-Craft has been operating for more than 70 years. As a custom manufacturer, Koller-Craft is constantly adapting to changes in part and demand, requiring automation solutions like Baxter that can do the same.

"Collaborative robots like Baxter that can adapt to real-world manufacturing environments are empowering manufacturers to incorporate them into places they've never considered before," said Jim Lawton, CMO at Rethink Robotics. "Koller-Craft is a great example of a forward-thinking manufacturer who is tapping into the immense potential that smart robotics offer."

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 GE Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Bezos Expeditions, CRV, Highland Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Two Sigma Ventures. For more information about Rethink Robotics, please visit www.rethinkrobotics.com

Featured Product

ST Robotics Develops the Workspace Sentry for Collaborative Robotics

ST Robotics Develops the Workspace Sentry for Collaborative Robotics

The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.