BOSTON—Rethink Robotics has released a software platform, Intera® 5, that the company describes as a “new approach to automation.” By connecting machines from a single robot controller, Intera 5 extends the smart, flexible power of Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer™ robot to the entire work cell, paving the way for connected manufacturing environments and helping companies build factories of the future, the company said in a press release.
Intera 5 is much more than the latest version of Rethink Robotics’ software. According to Rethink, it’s a new way to approach automation that allows manufacturers to control the robots, orchestrate the work cell, and collect data.
“With the introduction of Intera 5, we’ve created the world’s first smart robot that can orchestrate the entire work cell, removing areas of friction and opening up new and affordable automation possibilities for manufacturers around the world,” said Scott Eckert, president and CEO, Rethink Robotics, in the release. “Intera 5 is driving immediate value while helping customers work toward a smart factory, and providing a gateway to successful industrial internet of things (IIoT) for the first time.”
Consumer expectations for greater personalization and shifting market demands require manufacturers to be innovative and agile while still controlling costs. Rethink Robotics’ Intera 5 is said to modernize the traditional work cell by improving coordination, increasing flexibility, and drastically reducing deployment times. Run through the robot’s controller, Intera 5 enables manufacturers to orchestrate conveyors, equipment, and other machines from a central Intera 5-powered robot.
Tuthill Plastics Group, a custom injection molding company in Clearwater, Florida, is using a Sawyer robot with Intera 5 to power improved product quality and more efficient production. Operating 24 hours a day, five days a week, Sawyer picks parts from a conveyor belt and communicates with a computer numerical control (CNC) machine to precisely place the part into the machine by using Intera 5’s unique force-sensing capabilities. By applying a precise level of force while placing the part, the Tuthill team has been able to improve part quality and consistency, reducing a length defect on the part by 98 percent since implementing Sawyer, the release said.
“Sawyer with Intera 5 is a major step forward in manufacturing automation,” said Richard Curtain, president, Tuthill Plastics Group. “Part placement is extremely critical to our machining process. Sawyer is able to effectively ensure product quality and consistency, handle the variability of the production line, and automatically re-register to the environment in the event that any parts move.”
The German magnet manufacturer, MS Schramberg, is also using Sawyer with Intera 5 and has substantially improved deployment time, according to the release. With six robots operating on three machines, MS Schramberg has one robot selecting parts from a series of patterns and loading the part into the machine, while a second robot removes the part from the machine and loads the part into a tray.
With less than a day of training, an MS Schramberg engineer is able to deploy and train the robots in just more than an hour. The robots now run 24 hours per day, six days per week, and can easily configure complex logic tasks, minimizing the need for human interaction and freeing up employees for more complex tasks.
“We’ve cut our deployment times by hundreds of hours with Intera 5, and are able to easily deploy our Sawyer robots on an extremely complex task in just over an hour,” said Norman Wittke, general manager, MS Schramberg, in the release. “The ease and speed of deployment is extremely valuable for our company, and is helping make our manufacturing processes more efficient, while improving our ROI.”
“Intera 5 is equipping industry leaders like Tuthill Plastics and MS Schramberg to achieve immediate bottom-line improvements in productivity, quality and efficiency on the factory floor,” said Eckert. “By implementing our robots equipped with Intera 5, manufacturers will have unprecedented work cell coordination, greatly reducing the need for complex, time-consuming, and outdated automation options.”
Through Intera 5, Rethink Robotics provides what it calls “a proven path for manufacturers to build connected work cells today, delivering immediate benefits without disrupting production needs.”