RightHand Robotics, a robotic piece-picking company headquartered in Somerville, Mass., opened a corporate entity in Tokyo called RightHand Robotics GK. The subsidiary will help RightHand better meet demand for robotic piece-picking in Japan and all of Asia-Pacific.
RightHand Robotics GK will be led by Kensaburo Tamura, who was named regional head of Asia-Pacific. He previously served as the country manager at Cloudera, a provider of big data and AI/machine learning platforms. Tamura has 20-plus years of experience introducing U.S.-based technologies into Japan.
“Expanding into the Japanese market with the establishment of RightHand Robotics GK is a major accomplishment for our team,” said Leif Jentoft, co-founder of RightHand Robotics. “Japan is a huge and expanding market for robotic piece-picking and having a presence there, under Mr. Tamura’s leadership, will increase our opportunities in Asia Pacific and play a pivotal role in our global growth.”
Japan is home to the world’s second-largest retail sector and second-largest industrial robotics market. RightHand’s first Japanese customer is PALTAC Corp., Japan’s largest wholesaler of consumer packaged goods. PALTAC is using RightHand’s piece-picking solution, RightPick, at its newest warehouse in Sugito, Saitama Prefecture. The facility stocks over 20,000 SKUs every year and is equipped with multiple RightPick workcells to pick and place a wide range of items at a high rate.
“It has been a pleasure working with RightHand Robotics on Japan’s first multi-robot RightPick installation,” said Masakazu Mikita, general manager of research and development at PALTAC. “Moving forward, we are expecting robotic piece-picking to play a key role in further optimizing the supply chain and providing the best customer experience for the delivery of daily necessity, cosmetic, health, and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products.”
RightPick combines a smart gripper, computer vision, and machine learning to figure out how to grasp items it has never seen before. Jentoft recently told The Robot Report that sRightPick mimics a human’s hand-eye coordination. The system is can perform 900-plus picks per hour.
RightHand Robotics recently introduced RightPick2, the second generation of its piece-picking solution. It includes several hardware and software updates, including a fifth-generation industrial gripper, new depth-sensing cameras from Intel, and an improved cobot arm from Universal Robots. RightPick2 also includes new features such as bar-code scanning and the ability to work with put-wall sortation systems.
In December 2018, RightHand closed a a $23 million Series B round and added Mick Mountz, Founder and former CEO of Kiva Systems, to its board of directors. Mountz founded Kiva Systems in 2003 and sold it to Amazon in 2012 for $775 million.
Mountz told The Robot Report that RightHand Robotics is picking up where Kiva left off.
“I think of the grasping problem as an extension of the Kiva system,” said Mountz. “We wiped out the wasted walking throughout the warehouse, while RightHand takes out the next level in the operation of picking and packing.”
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