Donnelly Custom Manufacturing Unravels the Complications in Rethink Robotics's Baxter Robot

By CIOReview | Thursday, March 31, 2016
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BOSTON, MA: Donnelly Customer Manufacturing, a short-run injection molding of thermoplastics provider for the industrial OEM’s, is utilizing the two-armed Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics for the flexible automation at its Alexandria, Minnesota work space. The firm is currently focused on incorporating customers with short-run injection molding in size varying from small to medium. The company requires a high-level of flexibility and agility to fulfill its aim of flexible automation and to deliver it to the expectations and needs of the customers.

"In short-run molding, implementing automation to keep up with demand is expensive and laborious, as our production lines and product mix shifts quickly every day," says Ron Kirscht, President, Donnelly. "Baxter is able to switch tasks easily and adapt to this variable factory environment, allowing us to remain competitive on global pricing while delivering custom products on time to our customers. This also frees our employees to think more creatively and gives them the chance to work on more complex tasks and problem solving."

Donnelly deployed two Baxter robots on manufacturing ground to perform the tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming, but needs error-free completion. This provides liberty to the employees to focus on more advantageous tasks and activities. It installed Baxter robots for conducting tasks like removing parts from the conveyor belts and arranging each part on the customized stacking device along with counting, packaging and shipment of the finished products.

"Integrating traditional automation into a lower-volume, high-mix operation like Donnelly's is incredibly difficult," says Jim Lawton, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Rethink Robotics. "By using our smart, collaborative robots, manufacturers like Donnelly are able to keep up with demand by addressing the complexity with a low-cost solution that can deal with variability and shift between tasks quickly."