VIDEO: Move Fast and Fix Things

Rapid Robotics specializes in quick deployment that allows customers to maximize ROI. Custom workcells are integral to this process and just one reason why our design approach stands apart.

February 21st, 2023 3 min read

Fast deployment of a Rapid Machine Operator (RMO) helps customers quickly ramp up production, expand operational shifts, and accommodate new products and processes. One of the reasons why Rapid Robotics can accelerate deployment is our approach to developing the custom workcell.

Conventional workcell design tends to be applications fully customized, regardless of the application. This approach can lead to months of development time, high-up front costs, and a great deal of complexity that the customer is ultimately responsible for managing.

Rapid Robotics approaches every customer’s application as a unique design challenge.Then we solve it in the fastest, simplest, most efficient manner using a modular design template and creative engineering informed by experience—all of which is on display in the video above.

“What’s most important is maintaining the mindset of the customer,” says Nick Szychowski, Senior Mechanical Engineer for Rapid Robotics. “You always have to be thinking about what the customer wants from an automation cell. I make sure to keep the end user’s goal in mind, and that helps guide my design choices.”

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The process starts with a customer site visit by a field application engineer to discuss the feasibilities of robotic automation. After a follow-up meeting, the Rapid Robotics design team collaborates on a solution that takes into account where the workcell will be placed and what exactly it needs to do. Because the base design of the cage and pedestal are modular, they can be quickly customized to fit the customer’s needs.“My favorite part of the process is mechanical design,” says Peter Paulson, Senior Application

Engineer. “Being creative about how we design the cell so the robot can be efficient and deliver the best product for our customer.”This collaborative approach employs flexible design teams to attack engineering problems from multiple angles and develop ideas at a faster pace.

“We have a really fast design cycle,” Szychowski says. “We prototype quickly, get designs out and test them quickly. Then when the design is nearly complete, we work with the field application engineering team to continue testing to make sure the solution is as robust as possible.”

Another way Rapid Robotics accelerates the design process is with 3D printing. Rather than use off-the-shelf grippers—which is standard operating procedure with most providers—Rapid Robotics prefers to 3D print prototypes of custom grippers, iterating quickly to achieve the ideal result.

“Recently, we realized we needed to dramatically reduce the weight of a gripper,” Szychowski says.“That meant employing different materials and manufacturing methods. Instead of a machined metal flange, we switched to laser-cut fiberglass with half the weight, which was much more effective.”

The design team uses fast iteration for the grippers, extrusions, and electronics. The final step is training the robot with proprietary software.

“All of the waypoint teaching, input and output designations, and scripting are done within our own ecosystem,” says Paulson. “It’s really powerful to use one platform to solve the problems we encounter in the field.”

Of course, it’s the process of finding that solution through robotic automation that delivers the most satisfaction for the Rapid Robotics team.

“Collaborating and being creative with our team is what’s most fun,” Szychowski says. “I get to solve problems in new ways every day, design things that haven’t been designed before, and then make them a week later.”

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