Robots are made to help people in routine work. Do you believe in this? Well, at least, the robot manufacturers keep this idea in mind when designing new robots. Recently, Boston Dynamics showcased the commercial version of its Stretch robot. Initially, the Stretch was announced in March 2021. Now, after a year, it appeared on MODEX in Atlanta. Currently, the robot is available for booking for 2023 and 2024 deliveries.
Well, let’s get into details. The Boston Dynamic’s Stretch is a mobile robot, which has been made to unload floor-loaded trailers and containers. It comes with a quite powerful custom vacuum gripper that can handle up to 50 lbs at a time. Other than that, the robot can effectively work with packages of complex shapes. More interestingly, this robot can sort boxes even having no previous knowledge of their shape. There is no need to add SKU numbers. Thus, the Stretch robot makes all decisions in real-time.
Not The First Warehouse Robot
In fact, Boston Dynamics has been working on similar robots for a while. For instance, the company introduced the Handle in 2017. It came with combined wheels and legs. In this sense, the Stretch is the modified and enhanced version of the Handle. However, it doesn’t have legs. Instead, it comes with an omni-directional mobile base with four independently controlled wheels. The robot can continuously work for about 16 hours on a single charge.
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“Labor shortages and supply chain snags continue to create challenges in keeping the flow of goods moving,” Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics, said. “Stretch makes logistics operations more efficient and predictable, and it improves safety by taking on one of the most physically demanding jobs in the warehouse. Many of our early adopter customers have already committed to deploying the robot at scale, so we are excited Stretch will soon be put to work more broadly, helping retailers and logistics companies handle the continued surging demand for goods.”
Unfortunately, all models for 2022 have been sold out. Obviously, they were bought not by regular customers but by companies like DHL Supply Chain, H&M, GAP, and Performance Team – A Maersk Company.
Moreover, we knew that the first batch of the Stretch had been acquired by DHL Supply Chain in January 2022. In total, DHL pre-ordered Stretch robots worth $15 million to further automate warehouses in North America. The whole order will be supplied in the next three years.
Lastly, Boston Dynamics has already signed a multi-year agreement with Performance Team – A Maersk Company.