Collaborative Robot Tests and Inspects Engines

Using a new software platform, Rethink Robotics says it has enabled collaborative robots to do inspection and assembly chores that weren’t previously possible. At the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show, Rethink showed how a collaborative robot called Sawyer could inspect and test engines in the presence of humans, without a safety fence for separation. The robot used a camera to check for positioning of parts and employed force sensors to make sure wires and cables were snugly installed.

The key to the robot’s capabilities is the Intera5 software platform, which is “a new way to approach automation that allows manufacturers to control the robots, orchestrate the work cell, and collect data.” At the show, “Sawyer” used the software’s force-sensing capabilities to check the security of a spark plug cable on an engine. The robot’s arm measured force as it tugged on the cable, then sent an alert if the cable was loose, or lit a green light if the cable was secure.

Sawyer at work at Tuthill (Source:

>> Read more by  Charles Murray, Design News, February 15, 2017