Rethink Robotics is gone — or is it? News from Germany and China should provide relief for owners of Baxter and Sawyer cobots worried about continuing support.
The shutdown of collaborative robot pioneer Rethink Robotics saddened and surprised many in the robotics community, but what happens to the organizations that already own the company’s Baxter and Sawyer cobots? Two avenues for continuing support have emerged.
The HAHN Group GmbH today announced that it has acquired all patents and trademarks of Rethink Robotics, as well as its INTERA5 software platform. The German company, which has production sites around the world, said it will “make the software platform available to suitable partners through licensing or other arrangements.”
HAHN Group also stated that it will provide continuing support and development of Rethink’s Sawyer cobot technology. It was previously a distribution partner of Rethink, whose robot arms were designed to be safer to operate around humans and were popular in research but had difficulty finding commercial buyers.
As an integrator of industrial automation, the HAHN Group has more than 30 years of experience. A “Rethink Robotics” business unit will join its existing HAHN RobShare rental business and its HAHN Robotics integration unit. HAHN said it employs about 1,100 people in 19 locations, and it has customers in the automotive, consumer goods, electronics, and medical technology industries.
“The acquisition of Rethink Robotics’ technology marks an important milestone for the development of our portfolio of collaborative robotics solutions,” said Thomas Hähn, CEO of HAHN Group. “This transaction will bring us not only a boost in innovative technologies, but also access to highly specialized know-how in one of the most dynamic future markets.”
“We are very pleased that we could convince the owners of Rethink Robotics to agree to the sale of its robotic technology around the cobot Sawyer as well as the INTERA5 software,” he added.
In addition, Hunan Cothink Robotics Technology Co., which was the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of the two-armed Baxter cobot in China, still has about 100 robots in its warehouse, according to its U.S. office. The company said it has rights to make more.
Editor’s Note: HAHN Group told Robotics Business Review that it does not have a relationship with Hunan Cothink.