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Powering Production

Watch the bonus episode of Season 3 of the IMTS+ Original Series “Road Trippin’ with Steve,” on his visit to Kawasaki Robotics where robots are everywhere—and doing everything you can imagine to power production.
Jan 17, 2024

Picking. Packing. Placing. Palletizing. And just overall powering production. For the bonus episode of Season 3 of the IMTS+ original series “Road Trippin’ with Steve,” our crew saw robots doing all of that and more at Kawasaki Robotics. I was once again living my best life in Detroit!

After a fan boy moment for Kawasaki motorcycles, I took a wrong turn and got to play a little hide and seek with security. Spoiler: they won.

Luckily, I DID have an appointment and Sales Operation Leader John Weber sprung me from the clink (Note to legal: no actual police were involved).

Following that brief detour, my actual tour began with a look at a palletizing robot with a multi-functional vacuum end-of-arm tool that allows it to quickly and seamlessly pick up and move different product SKUs while also having the ability to add slip sheets and move pallets. The unit uses area scanners to ensure safety — so there are no safety fences needed. If the established safety zone is entered, the robot is programmed to either slow its operation to a safe speed to work beside a human or to stop running completely depending on the application. Once the human leaves the area, the robot automatically starts working again at full speed. Robots are so smart!

Weber explained how newer robots are addressing the traditional limitations of co-bots, including cost and the inability to re-build them. For instance, Kawasaki Robotics uses a robot touch skin that serves as an alternative. The thin skin is a sensor, so the robot will stop when it is touched — much like a cobot, enabling the robot to handle non-collaborative and collaborative applications with ease.

After checking out several demos, I heard from Brooke Mewton, a young automotive project engineer, about what brought her into robotics and what keeps her excited to come to work every day. She introduced me to MG 15 — a robot with a big WOW factor! That thing is HUGE! I even got to take the wheel (in this case a giant remote) for a few minutes. It was super cool.

“That’s a lot of robot,” Mewton said. I couldn’t agree more.

Learn more about industry giants by watching all three seasons of “Road Trippin’ with Steve,” an IMTS+ series, at IMTS.com/RTWS

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Author
Stephen LaMarca
Technology Analyst
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