Monday, May 20, 2024

Agility’s new factory to build 10,000 humanoid robots per year

Agility Robotics, the creator of the bipedal robot Digit, is opening RoboFab, a robot manufacturing facility in Salem, Oregon, with the capability to produce more than 10,000 robots per year. The humanoid robots are designed to work alongside humans on the factory floor.

The initial construction of this 70,000-square-foot robot factory began last year and is set to open later this year. With the opening of the new manufacturing facility, customers that are participating in the Agility Partner Program (APP) can expect delivery of the first Digits in 2024, with general market availability in 2025.

The company expects to build hundreds of Digit robots in the first year, with the capability to scale to more than 10,000 robots per year. At full capacity, RoboFab will employ more than 500 workers in Salem, in addition to employees at Agility’s other locations.

Upon reaching full capacity, more than 500 workers will be employed at RoboFab in Salem, in addition to employees at Agility’s other locations. Agility’s facility will also employ its very own Digits, performing similar tasks to those at Agility’s customer sites, such as moving, loading, and unloading warehouse goods.

Digit is specially designed to work alongside people in human-centric environments. It is capable of safely performing a wide range of tasks that are typically designed around human workflows. With its multi-purpose utility, Digit is ideal for applications such as bulk material handling within warehouses and distribution centers. It is easy to deploy into existing warehouse operations and as-built infrastructure without costly retrofitting.

The bipedal robot stands 5 feet, 9 inches (175 cm) tall and weighs around 65 kg (141 lb). The robot can carry up to 18 kg (40 lbs) of weight with its two 4-DOF arms while negotiating uneven terrain and avoiding obstacles. In addition, the robot adjusts its posture and shifts its center of gravity when carrying objects of different sizes and weights.

“The opening of our factory marks a pivotal moment in the history of robotics: the beginning of the mass production of commercial humanoid robots,” said Damion Shelton, Agility Robotics’ co-founder and CEO. “We built Digit to solve difficult problems in today’s workforce, like injuries, burnout, high turnover, and unfillable labor gaps, with the ultimate vision of enabling humans to be more human. When you’re building new technology to make society better, the most important milestone is when you’re able to mass produce that technology at a scale where it can have a real, widespread impact.”

“Not only are we building the world’s first factory for humanoid robots, but we’re doing so in the United States about 30 miles from our engineering center, which is fantastic for setting us up to scale quickly,” Agility Robotics COO Aindrea Campbell said in the press release. “By establishing RoboFab as a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub in Salem, Oregon, we are not only accelerating the development and deployment of advanced robotic systems but also cultivating innovation and creating high-skilled job opportunities. With the capability to produce Digit at scale, we are poised to change the future of work for the better.”