Smart, Collaborative Robot Demonstrates In-circuit Testing
BOSTON—With its compliant motion control, Rethink Robotics’ high-performance Sawyer robot has a unique ability to feel its way into precise and fragile fixtures, even when part position changes. This enables an adaptive repeatability that Rethink says is unique in the robotics industry and provides what the company calls “unparalleled precision” without the risk of damaging expensive circuit board testing equipment.
According to Rethink Robotics, Sawyer can work with any type of in-circuit tester to improve efficiency and reduce production costs. As D2P went to press, Sawyer was being readied to make its first appearance at an electronics industry trade show, IPC APEX EXPO 2016, where it would show off a key printed circuit board testing application.
The company was preparing Sawyer to operate the Keysight i3070 and work as a part of an automated in-circuit test process to help further reduce the cost of testing in ICT for high mix, high volume printed circuit board production. Sawyer is able to insert the board under test, and then sort passing or failing boards based on the test results. The robot can open and close the i3070 fixture cover, just as a person would, eliminating the need to invest in additional expensive automation or changes to existing solutions, according to Rethink Robotics.
“The worldwide demand for Sawyer has been overwhelming since we announced the robot’s availability in September,” said Jim Lawton, chief product and marketing officer for Rethink Robotics. “Manufacturers, particularly in the electronics industry, have been seeking a smart, collaborative solution to automate precise and important tasks, like in-circuit testing and PCB handling. Sawyer is meeting those needs and transforming how factories operate.”
According to Rethink Robotics, Sawyer demonstrates firsthand how its precision, adaptive repeatability, and compliant motion control can improve current electronics manufacturing operations through increased uptime, lower scrap rates, and significant process quality enhancements. Able to perform in a complex and imperfect manufacturing environment, Sawyer can quickly shift between tasks and operate as humans do, providing manufacturers with more automation options than ever before, the company says.
Rethink Robotics (www.rethinkrobotics.com) reports that it is transforming the way manufacturing gets done, with smart, collaborative robots that are able to automate the 90 percent of tasks that, until now, have been beyond the reach of traditional automation. Its Baxter and Sawyer robots, powered by the Intera software platform, adapt to real-world variability, can change applications quickly, and perform tasks in a manner similar to the way that people do. According to the company, the result is that manufacturers of all shapes, sizes, and industries get the fast-to-deploy, easy-to-use, and versatile automation they need to increase flexibility, lower cost, and accelerate innovation.
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