More humanoid robots are coming. Agility Robotics today announced that it is building RoboFab, a facility capable of producing more than 10,000 robots per year in Salem, Ore. The creator of the Digit bipedal robot said it began construction of the 70,000-sq.-ft. factory last year, and it expects it to open later this year.
“The opening of our factory marks a pivotal moment in the history of robotics: the beginning of the mass production of commercial humanoid robots,” stated Damion Shelton, co-founder and CEO of Agility Robotics.
“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,'” he said in a release. “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.”
Agility readies Digit for availability
Agility Robotics said Digit is designed to safely work in spaces designed for people because many tasks are built around human workflows. While Digit is intended to eventually provide multi-purpose utility, its initial applications will include bulk material handling in warehouses and distribution centers, said the company.
RoboFab will produce hundreds of humanoid robot in the first year and scale up capacity, said Agility Robotics. The company, which has dual headquarters in Pittsburgh and Corvallis, Ore., claimed that its new factory will ultimately employ more than 500 people in addition to employees at its other locations.
Digit also will work in the new factory in a similar capacity to Agility's customer sites, moving, loading, and unloading totes.
Customers participating in the Agility Partner Program (APP) can now expect delivery of the first Digits in 2024, said the company. Agility Robotics said it expects its robot to be generally available on the market in 2025.
COO leads scaling of humanoid manufacturing
Aindrea Campbell, chief operations officer of Agility Robotics, is leading the company's expansion of its manufacturing and corporate operations to meet the large commercial demand for Digit. Her responsibilities include the launch of the new factory.
With more than 20 years as a senior operations leader at companies including Ford and Apple, Campbell co-led the transition from steel to aluminum on the F150 and rapidly scaled capacity as head of iPad operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not only are we building the world’s first factory for humanoid robots, but we’re doing so in the U.S. about 30 miles from our engineering center, which is fantastic for setting us up to scale quickly,” she said.
“By establishing RoboFab as a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub in Salem, Ore., we are not only accelerating the development and deployment of advanced robotic systems, but also cultivating innovation and creating high-skilled job opportunities,” Campbell added. “With the capability to produce Digit at scale, we are poised to change the future of work for the better.”
Email Sign Up
Get news, papers, media and research delivered
Stay up-to-date with news and resources you need to do your job.
Research industry trends, compare companies and get market intelligence every week with Robotics 24/7.
Subscribe to our robotics user email newsletter and we'll keep you informed and up-to-date.