Not only is Amazon.com Inc. one of the most prominent users of robotics, but it is also scaling up production. The Seattle-based online retailer yesterday announced the opening of a “first of its kind” robotics manufacturing facility in Westborough, Mass. The new factory will expand Amazon Robotics' manufacturing capability in the U.S. and will create more than 200 jobs in the state.
“Massachusetts offers a highly talented workforce, and this Amazon facility opening further cements our state’s reputation as a key center for robotics development,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The opening of this new, state-of-the-art robotics facility creates new jobs for individuals across a wide range of skills and backgrounds in addition to the 1,500 new seasonal jobs Amazon has created in the commonwealth as the company continues its investment in the state’s economic growth and development. I am pleased to be here for this opening, especially during STEM Week in Massachusetts.”
Amazon continues robotics expansion
Amazon said it will grow its engineering, manufacturing, support, and test teams in Massachusetts. The 350,000-square-foot facility will feature corporate offices, research and development labs, and production space. Along with Amazon Robotics' headquarters in North Reading, Mass., the company said the facility will serve as an epicenter of its robotics innovation.
Manufacturing of Amazon Robotics mobile drive units will be a primary focus in the facility. Since 2012, the company has deployed more than 350,000 drive units across its facilities. These drive units and other robotic technologies are designed to work closely with employees to help safely and reliably fulfill customer orders, said the e-commerce giant.
“I want to welcome Amazon Robotics to Westborough and congratulate them for choosing to build out this first-of-its-kind facility in Massachusetts,” said Mike Kennealy, housing and economic development secretary for Massachusetts. “This facility reaffirms the importance of the work we have done to build a talented workforce, foster innovation, and create an ecosystem in the commonwealth that allows innovation to grow and thrive.”
Robots plus jobs at Amazon
In 2012, Amazon acquired Kiva Systems, which made mobile robots for materials handling and moving shelves of products to be picked. Kiva became part of Amazon Robotics. At the same time, the company said it has added more than 1 million jobs worldwide since then.
Earlier this week, Amazon said it is hiring for 150,000 seasonal jobs nationwide, including 1,500 in Massachusetts. All regular, full-time employees will have access to a starting wage that is more than double the federal minimum wage, along with comprehensive health benefits, paid time off, up to 20 weeks of fully paid parental leave, and more for employees and their families.
In addition to the new robotics facility in Westborough, Amazon is hiring 1,500 new full- and part-time operations staffers across its sites in Massachusetts. These jobs include stowing, picking, packing, and sorting customer orders, in addition to roles in management, IT, human resources, safety, and security.
In the U.S., Amazon said it is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 250,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs.
“We care about the communities where we operate,” said Joe Quinlivan, vice president of Amazon Robotics. “This is why we are proud to expand high-tech robotics manufacturing in the U.S. and in Massachusetts specifically with the opening of this new facility.”
“As a company, we have created more than 20,000 jobs in Massachusetts since 2010 in communities from Boston to Westborough and beyond,” he added. “This latest addition to Amazon’s presence in the commonwealth brings great jobs, from hourly manufacturing roles to engineers and developers working on advancements in robotics, to help our facilities run safely and meet our customers’ needs.”
“The opening of this robotics manufacturing facility and the new jobs it provides demonstrate the strength of our regional economy and our workforce,” said Kristi Williams, Westborough’s town manager. “We look forward to a strong partnership with Amazon Robotics.”