furnishing the factory floor with collaborative robots at steelcase

in robots @ work by Jeff Green

“Having already deployed several Baxter robots successfully, we’ve seen the value that collaborative robots bring to the factory floor,” said Edward Vander Bilt, leader of innovation at Steelcase, manufacturer of office, hospital and classroom furniture. “These robots are the game-changers of modern manufacturing.”

At their Grand Rapids, MI factory, Sawyer will work in tandem with the company’s welding machine, picking and placing parts in pairs of two, enabling a completely autonomous welding process. The robot’s small footprint, long reach and higher payload capacity make it ideal for the Steelcase team.

“We’ll be implementing Sawyer in areas where it has a highly repetitive or mundane task, to help free up our operators to do more important functions in their work cells,” said Walter Adams, manufacturing engineer at Steelcase.

George Helms, the company’s manufacturing robotics leader added, “We have an older, mature workforce, so what we’ve done is really put robotics and new technology right in their hands, enabling them to see it, touch it, feel it. And then they have a better understanding of how we’re trying to utilize a Baxter or a Sawyer within the workforce.

We don’t want employees to feel the robot is there to take their job away. It’s there to assist them with their job.”

If you’d like to meet one of our smart, collaborative robots, or just want to talk shop, connect with us here. And for more customer stories, robot videos and automation news, be sure to check out the rest of the Rethink Robotics blog.


About the Author

Jeff Green

I'm Jeff Green, senior content and social media strategist at Rethink Robotics. When I'm not socializing Sawyer and Baxter, our smart, collaborative robots, I'm usually caught up in the home tornado, also known as my three kids. Love them, my wife, old-school Chinese food, movies, and of course game-changing technology.

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