Sonoco Alloyd and Rethink Robotics Announce Strategic Alliance

Rethink Robotics and Sonoco Alloyd (a unit of Sonoco – the international packaging leader) have recently announced a strategic collaboration.

Robots
The aim of the alliance is to deliver pioneering and complete manufacturing solutions to the packaging consumers of Sonoco Alloyd.

Based in DeKalb, Ill., Sonoco Alloyd is considered to be a leader in retail and medical packaging design solutions.

It will incorporate the collaborative packaging robots of Rethink Robotics into its line of sealing machines to offer its customers an all-inclusive automation solution.

Rethink’s Sawyer and Baxter robots will be sold via Sonoco Alloyd’s salesforce. As a result of this partnership, the manufacturing consumers of Sonoco Alloyd will be able to automate their custom packaging lines completely with the availability of adaptable, flexible and cost-effective solutions.

Sonoco Alloyd New Partnership Set to encourage Innovation
Jeff Christensen, General Manager/Vice President of Sonoco Alloyd shared his thoughts about the partnership. He said that collaborating with the leading robot technologies of the industry like Rethink Robotics, along with Sonoco’s world class heat sealing systems, would help the company provide a complete and a unique solution to its customers that will bring real results within a small time frame.

He also added that people at his company are continually listening to the customers’ advice and suggestions, using the feedback to develop new ideas that help improve the nature of services and solutions on offer.

Rethink Robotics provides a different kind of technology that Sonoco has started using in its factories. The company is now capable of letting the benefits pass on to its customers as well.

Scott Eckert, President and CEO of Rethink Robotics, shared his thoughts about the alliance. He called Sonoco Alloyd a pioneer in its domain.

He said that the company provides pioneering technology that international manufacturers require to be successful in today’s competitive market.

According to him, since Sonoco knows that collaborative robots will play a significant role in the future of manufacturing, they have decided to forge this alliance.

He added further that this alliance will allow Sonoco to offer extra value to the consistent automation it’s already offering its customers.

What are Collaborative Robots?
Collaborative robots or cobots work alongside humans in collaborative applications, especially in the packaging department of a manufacturing company. Unlike traditional industrial robots, companies can safely integrate these robots into a human workspace with little or no guarding. This allows for a much more seamless and efficient collaborative workflow between humans and machines.

Cobots will make factory floors more efficient and productive by augmenting the workforce rather than replacing it. Thanks to advances in sensing and safety technologies, manufacturers can now safely deploy these robots in a wide range of applications.

Key Advantages of Collaborative Robots
One of the key advantages is their small and lightweight appearance as compared to industrial robots. Thus, cobots are much easier to install and set up in a given workspace. In addition, they typically have built-in safeguards that prevent them from harming humans. As a result, they can be used in a wide variety of settings using strict protocols to ensure safe use.

Due to the many benefits, robots are becoming in demand in various industries. Manufacturing and assembly applications are the most common users. Other users include logistics, healthcare, food and beverage, and even retail applications. As technology continues to mature and become more affordable, cobots will likely play an even bigger role in the future of work.

Are there Disadvantages to using these robots?
While collaborative robots offer many advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider. Collaborative robots can be expensive. While the initial investment may be high, the long-term costs can also be significant. So, trained workers who can use the cobot platforms are difficult to find.

Another concern is the design setting of the robots. Most cobots work only with a specific type of equipment or task, which can limit their flexibility. If a company’s needs change, they may need to purchase new collaborative robots or make significant modifications to their existing ones.

Additionally, collaborative robots typically require some level of programming or training to operate, which can add to the upfront cost of using them. While collaborative robots are designed to work safely alongside humans, there is always the potential for accidents or injuries if they are not used properly.

Lastly, these robots automate tasks and are intended to replace repetition to reduce errors. Thus, automation can lead to job loss to some extent. For example, a certain task in a production line requires 3 to 5 employees. After the installation of cobots, this task might only need 1 or 2 employees to keep the production going. Ultimately, this may lead to job loss.

For manufacturers everywhere, this strategic alliance between two great companies is sure to bring a huge benefit. Since this alliance, Sonoco has become the leading company for its packaging technology.

To know more about robotics packaging and check our blog information.
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