Baxter Handles the Daily Grind for Leading Abrasives Manufacturer

Rethink Robotics’ Baxter Robot Helps Klingspor ship more than 1.5 million sanding disks per week

Boston, December 4, 2014 Klingspor Abrasives is the latest industry-leading manufacturer to integrate a collaborative robot onto its packaging line by adding Rethink Robotics’ Baxter to the team. Operating as part of a high-volume operation, Baxter is packaging sanding disks into boxes and the boxes into trays for shipment.

Baxter’s flexibility is already proving to be a significant asset to Klingspor, which has operated solely on manual labor and fixed automation solutions to this point.

“Our packaging process can be very slow and tedious for employees,” said TJ Jakobs, maintenance engineer at Klingspor’s 120,000 square foot facility in Hickory, NC. “Baxter’s ability to deliver a very high level of consistency and skillfully perform a variety of tasks has enabled our employees to take on more complex and valuable roles.”

With plans to deploy a second Baxter by the end of the year, Klingspor is considering additional applications, including tending a sheet-cutting machine. With its force sensing and ease of training, Baxter can readily accommodate changes in parts, demand and application requirements, providing opportunities to be redeployed as needed to meet changing production demands.

“The packaging process has been completely transformed by collaborative robots like Baxter,” said Jim Lawton, CMO at Rethink Robotics. “Manufacturers now have the flexibility needed to respond to the changes that inevitably happen on packaging lines, while also freeing up employees so they can focus on more complex, meaningful work.”

An international manufacturer of high-quality industrial sanding and grinding products, Klingspor has been a leader in the abrasives industry for more than 100 years. With operations in Germany, Mexico, the USA, and 40 other countries, the company employs hundreds of men and women globally.

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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 Bezos Expeditions, Charles River Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Two Sigma Ventures. For more information about Rethink Robotics, please visit