Rethink Robotics Inc. is reaching for new markets with the long arm of Sawyer, another interactive face on the automation scene.
The Boston-based company is expanding its collaborative robot family, introducing Sawyer, a single-arm robot designed for machine tending, circuit board testing and other precise tasks.
Rethink is known for its Baxter robot, which comes with a distinctive face screen and is able to work safely among human co-workers.
Sawyer is built along the same lines with the face screen, embedded sensors and train-by-demonstration user interface, but comes with a smaller footprint. It also runs on the Intera software system.
The new robot weighs 42 pounds and features a 8.8 pound payload with 7 degrees of freedom and a 1-meter reach that can maneuver into tight spaces. It has high-resolution force-sensing embedded at each joint, enabling it to “feel” its way into fixtures or machines.
Sawyer comes with an embedded vision system. It has a camera in its head to provide it a wide field of view and a Cognex camera with a built-in light source in its wrist. Over time, the company expects that the Cognex system will also include other features such as barcode scanning and object recognition.
“With Baxter, we introduced the concept of robots and people working together on the plant floor,” said Rethink Robotics President and CEO Scott Eckert, in a news release.
“With Sawyer, we have taken that relationship to the next level, with a high performance robot that opens the door for many new applications that have never been good candidates for automation.”
The machine is currently being field tested by several large manufacturing companies, including Jabil Circuit, Inc., the owner of Nypro Inc. It will be released with limited availability in the summer of 2015, with general customer availability later in the year.