Editor’s Note: Kevin Blankespoor, vice president and general manager of warehouse robotics at Boston Dynamics, is keynoting our Robotics Summit & Expo, which takes place May 10-11 in Boston. His talk, called “The Next Generation of Mobile Robot Applications,” will provide attendees with an update on how agile, mobile robots are currently being used at industrial sites and warehouses.
Expo attendees will also have the opportunity to take Boston Dynamics’ Spot for a walk. Spaces will be limited for this unique experience, more information can be found here.
Boston Dynamics is showing off the production version of its Stretch robot this week at MODEX in Atlanta. Stretch, first announced in March 2021, is available for reservations for 2023 and 2024 deliveries, according to the company.
Stretch is a mobile robot that unloads floor-loaded trailers and containers. Its powerful custom vacuum gripper is able to handle up to 50 lbs at a time, and packages with complex shapes. The robot is able to sort boxes without having any previous knowledge of their shape, and doesn’t require pre-programmed SKU numbers. Instead, Stretch makes all decisions in real-time.
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Stretch is the next generation of Handle, a robot Boston Dynamics introduced in 2017 that combined wheels and legs. Stretch doesn’t have legs, but it does have an omni-directional mobile base with four independently controlled wheels. The robot is able to work for up to 16 hours on a single charge.
“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.”
Currently, Stretch is sold out for 2022 installations. Boston Dynamics has a number of early customers, like DHL Supply Chain, H&M, GAP and Performance Team – A Maersk Company.
Boston Dynamics announced its first customer for Stretch, DHL Supply Chain, in January 2022. DHL pre-ordered $15 million worth of Stretch robots to further automate warehouses in North America. Boston Dynamics plans to deliver the robots over the next three years.
Boston Dynamics has also signed a multi-year contract with Performance Team – A Maersk Company. The company hopes Stretch can help it strengthen its warehouse and distribution capabilities.
Follow all of Mobile Robot Guide’s coverage of MODEX 2022 here.