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Baxter’s got a brand new gig

Lisa McTigue Pierce

September 22, 2015

2 Min Read
Baxter’s got a brand new gig

Collaborative robots Baxter and Sawyer from Rethink Robotics are now being integrated into heat sealers from Sonoco Alloyd. The partnership enables the packaging machinery manufacturer to provide a complete automation solution for their customers that is flexible, adaptable and low cost.

The robots will be part of an integrated part transfer and sealing system on all blister machines from Sonoco Alloyd, including its blister-to-card, blister-to-blister or medical-grade lidding-to-blister tray sealers.

Jeff Christensen, vp/general manager of Sonoco Alloyd, says, “Rethink Robotics provides a differentiated technology that we have begun to use in our own factories, and we are now able to pass those innovations on to our customers as well.”

Rethink Robotics president/CEO Scott Eckert says, “Sonoco Alloyd understands that collaborative robots are a big part of the future of manufacturing, and they can offer additional value to the reliable automation they’re already providing to their customers. The combination of these two great product lines is a huge competitive advantage for manufacturers everywhere.”

Kim Sanderson, marketing specialist at Sonoco Alloyd, tells us more about the company’s strategic alliance with Rethink Robotics and its benefits:

There are other collaborative robots in the market. Why did you decide to partner with Rethink Robotics?

Sanderson: Ease of use. The robots from Rethink Robotics are user friendly. No advanced programing skills are required.

Why is a collaborative robot a better automation option in this instance than other available mechanical or mechatronic options?

Sanderson: It is a multi-use solution. Baxter is programmable to load, unload, pack, unpack. We can use Baxter loading product and blisters and also unload on the back side of the machine. Baxter can also be used in other functions in the facility as well—anything with repetitive motion.

How will you or the customer decide whether to use a Baxter or Sawyer robot?

Sanderson: Sonoco Alloyd would do a customer site evaluation to determine which robot would best meet our customer’s unique needs.

Customers could buy the robots separately and integrate them themselves. What is the benefit to them buying the robot already integrated into your system?

Sanderson: The benefit for us is the same as the benefit for our customers—it makes Sonoco Alloyd a one-stop shop, meeting more of our customers’ needs in one place.

What is the delivery time for the integrated system compared to a regular machine?

Sanderson: No change.

How much more does the integrated robot add to the cost of a system?

Sanderson: Depends on the options. The average is $25,000 to $40,000.

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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