Robotic Agility


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Tennessee tech research aims to enchance worker productivity
Tennessee Tech University research has helped develop robots that can crawl up, down and metal structures for welding, cleaning, cutting and binding. Jamie Beard, president and co-founder of Robotic Technologies of Tennessee (RTT), licensed patents from his former professor, Steven Canfield, for the robots, which could help with the continuing resurgence of American manufacturing.

RTT’s not just concern like most manufacturing robots. Now, Beard’s company will keep getting feedback from the field, change and adjust the robots and develop markets.

Although researchers have worked for years on getting robots to work in unstructured environments, RTT’s models weigh less, distribute weigh more evenly, move over a wider variety of services and carry a heavier load than others.

“In earlier research, we had robots weighing 500 pounds that could carry loads of 50 pounds,” Canfield said. “Now we have robots that weigh 50 pounds that can carry 50 to 100 pounds.”

A skilled technician will have to operate the robots. The increased productivity should add, rather than subtract, manufacturing jobs, officials said.