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Inclusion through robotics – lighthouse project in collaboration with Iserlohner Werkstätten

Iserlohn. At the start of the year, Stiftung Wohfahrtspflege NRW, a social welfare foundation in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia, approved ten grant applications for Iserlohner Werkstätten. The sheltered workshop in Iserlohn used these grants to procure nine Sawyer robots from Rethink Robotics GmbH. The lighthouse project aims to curb the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and also support the workforce in working independently thanks to digital systems.
Procuring the robots was just the first step, however – now, the task is to develop and set up the planned applications. Rene Wenzel is leading the small team in its mission to generate ideas and implement them and can always rely on Rethink Robotics to provide active support. “As all our workforce have a certain degree of disability, we must take care when programming such systems. We cannot and do not want to implement any systems that do all the work for our staff. Instead, we want to support people and enable them to do the work themselves,” said Wenzel.
This is how the collaboration between Sawyer and the assistance system from Ulixes GmbH came about. The system, named Der Assistent, projects individual assembly steps onto the work surface, thereby guiding the employees through the assembly process. Once the part has been assembled, other employees perform the visual quality check with Sawyer’s support. “Our goal is to create systems that can help prepare people with disabilities for their first job. If Sawyer can help our employees here complete their tasks without external support, why should they not be able to do the same type of work in a different company?” says project manager, Maike Franke.
Together with Iserlohner Werkstätten, Rethink Robotics will hold an online podium discussion on the topic of robotics in the workshops on October 21, 2021. Interested parties can register for free at the following link: bit.ly/3kVyPGh

Company profile:
Rethink Robotics GmbH is a manufacturer of robots and is internationally renowned for its collaborative robot, Sawyer. With their simple integration, intuitive operation and groundbreaking service and support, the flexible cobots from Rethink Robotics ensure an excellent user experience. 
Rethink Robotics Inc. was founded in the USA in 2008. In 2018, the company was taken over by the HAHN Group and turned into Rethink Robotics GmbH. In 2020, the company then moved to Bochum. Daniel Bunse and Daniel Otto took on the roles of Managing Directors in November 2020.