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March 19, 2019      

RightHand Robotics today announced it has partnered with PALTAC Corp., a Japanese wholesaler of consumer packaged goods, to provide its latest piece-picking platform, RightPick2, to the Japanese market.

Multiple workstations will be installed in PALTAC’s newest facility, RDC Saitama, set to open later this year in Sugito, Saitama Prefrecture, Japan, RightHand said.

RightHand Robotics Piece-picking platform RightPick2

Officials from MassRobotics help ‘cut the ribbon’ on RightHand Robotics’ RightPick2 at a recent media event. Source: Keith Shaw

The RightPick2 system is an autonomous full-stack platform that handles the core task of picking and placing individual items as part of a wide range of warehouse workflows and processors. It includes features such as a Universal Robot UR53 or UR10e collaborative robot arm, the Intel RealSense Depth Camera D415, an updated gripper arm that includes fingers and suction for grabbing items, and the RightPick.AI software, which can handle thousands of SKUs from totes, bins, and cases.

RightHand said Japan represents a huge and growing market for automation as the world’s second-largest retail sector, with annual sales exceeding $1.3 trillion. The company said PALTAC, which wholesales cosmetics, daily necessities, and general pharmaceutical products, was seeking “a robotic piece-picking solution to further automate operations by picking and placing items of varying size, weight, and shape.”

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RightPick mobile robot sortation system. Source: RightHand Robotics

“Our RDC Saitama facility will stock over 20,000 SKUs every year,” said Masakazu Mikita, general manager of research and development at PALTAC. “In ordre to handle such a large number of different and densely packed items, we needed a piece-picking solution that combined advanced gripping systems with continuous machine learning and unerring reliability. RightPick met all of our high-level requirements; we’re confident in the system’s ability to successfully pick a wide variety of items without prior knowledge or programming.”

In addition to the platform’s speed, the system includes integrated AI software and gripping hardware that can handle the repetitive tasks of picking and placing individual items within various customer workflows, RightHand said.

“We are thrilled to be working with PALTAC and to introduce our solution to the Japanese market,” said Leif Jentoft, co-founder of RightHand Robotics. “As PALTAC continues to grow and expand operations, RightPick will be a valuable contributor to their business strategy. We’re very excited for the opportunity to implement our latest technology in their new facility.”

Rapid expansion, new funding

RightHand, founded in 2014 by a DARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation challenge-winning team from the Harvard Biorobotics Lab, the Yale GRAB Lab, and MIT, recently raised $23 million in a Series B funding round. The company 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. Last year at the MODEX 2018 event, the company “set a world record” of 100,000 picks during the trade show.