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RightHand Robotics Creates Japan Subsidiary to Serve Asian Demand

Image: RightHand Robotics

October 10, 2019      

Boston-based RightHand Robotics today announced it established a new corporate entity in Japan, RightHand Robotics GK. The new subsidiary will allow the company to “better serve the fast-growing demand for robotic piece-picking in Japan and the rest of Asia Pacific,” the company said in a press statement.

The company’s first deployment in Japan is with PALTAC Corp., the country’s largest wholesaler of consumer packaged goods. RightHand said Japan represents a significant market opportunity for supply chain automation, as it has the world’s second-largest retail sector and the second-largest industrial robotics market. PALTAC was set to unveil RightHand’s piece-picking solution, the multi-robot RightPick, at the launch of its newest facility, RDC Saitama. The warehouse, located in Sugito, Saitama Prefecture, stocks more than 20,000 SKUs yearly and is equipped with multiple Right-Pick workcells that can “reliably pick and place a wide range of items at a high rate.” Earlier this year, RightHand announced it would be entering the Japanese market with the PALTAC partnership.

Several RightPick work cells have been installed at a new PALTAC warehouse in Japan. Image: RightHand Robotics

“It has been a pleasure working with RightHand Robotics on Japan’s first multi-robot RightPick installation,” said Masakazu Mikita, general manager of research and development at PALTAC. “Moving forward, we are expecting robotic piece-picking to play a key role in further optimizing the supply chain and providing the best customer experience for the delivery of daily necessity, cosmetic, health and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products.”

Kensaburo Tamura, who has more than 20 years of experience introducing U.S.-based technologies to the Japanese market, has been named to lead RightHandRobotics GK, serving as Regional Head of Asia Pacific. In his previous role, he served as the country manager at Cloudera, a provider of big data and AI/ML software platforms.

Expanding markets

“Expanding into the Japanese market with the establishment of RightHand Robotics GK is a major accomplishment for our team,” said Leif Jentoft, co-founder of RightHand Robotics. “Japan is a huge and expanding market for robotic piece-picking and having a presence there, under Mr. Tamura’s leadership, will increase our opportunities in Asia Pacific and play a pivotal role in our global growth.”

RightHand, founded in 2014 by a DARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation challenge-winning team from the Harvard Biorobotics Lab, the Yale GRAB Lab, and MIT, raised $23 million in a Series B funding round in December 2018. The company, a RBR50 2019 honoree, said it is rapidly expanding its business and technical teams to broaden its suite of products and applications to support customers.

In addition to working with collaborative arms such as those from Universal Robots, the company has implemented applications with Tompkins Robotics (and its T-Sort system), as well as integration with other automated storage and retrieval systems, such as those from OPEX. It has also teamed with Capacity LLC for its fulfillment solutions, and with Vecna Robotics, makers of autonomous mobile robots. In May 2019, the company teamed up with Locus Robotics to create a cross-platform solution aimed at warehouse fulfillment operators. Last year at the MODEX 2018 event, the company “set a world record” of 100,000 picks during the trade show.