Seegrid Mobile Robots Make Material Flow More Reliable at Sumitomo Drive Technologies

Seegrid said its mobile automation has provided the automotive component manufacturer rapid ROI as it expands facilities.


Seegrid Palion Tow Tractor AMR autonomously moves materials for Sumitomo Drive Technologies in Chesapeake, Va.
Seegrid helped Sumitomo Drive Technologies haul parts and equipment between an existing assembly facility and a new warehouse with the Seegrid Palion Tow Tractor.

Seegrid Corp. today announced that Sumitomo Drive Technologies has chosen its robots for its expanding operations. The power transmission component manufacturer chose Seegrid's Palion robots and Fleet Central software to autonomously haul parts and equipment between its existing 250,000-sq.-ft. assembly facility and its new 100,000-sq.-ft. warehouse.

“Reliability is a critical factor in getting parts to the line—the initial Seegrid Palion Tow Tractor workflow is 3,000 ft. round trip, running up to 30 to 40 times per day,” said Tony Barlett, vice president of business operations at Sumitomo Drive Technologies. “Seegrid had us up and running in three days—fully trained and confident, our operators immediately identified more opportunities to leverage the technology.”

Tokyo-based Sumitomo Drive Technologies said it works closely with customers to ensure that their industrial gearboxes, speed reducers, servo gearmotors, and accessories remain operational for years to come. The company, whose U.S. headquarters are in Chesapeake, Va., claimed that many of its products have been in high-speed and harsh environments for years.

Sumitomo added that its clients can use its products to decrease the amount of unscheduled downtime and maintenance in their facilities.

Sumitomo deploys Palion Tow Tractor

With labor shortages, wasted travel time, and repetitiveness of tasks, Sumitomo's operations team sought a way to allow their existing personnel to focus on more valuable activities. To automate this workflow, the company's facility in Virginia implemented a Seegrid Palion Tow Tractor and the Fleet Central software.

Seegrid said its autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) enabled Sumitomo to autonomously move items from its warehouse to its assembly lines, making the trip up to 100 times per day—safely and seamlessly.

Sumitomo integrated Seegrid's Palion Tow Tractor into its daily material handling workflows to increase productivity and reduce the cost of non-value-added activities. The automotive supplier visually tracks and optimizes the movement of the AMRs in real time with Supervisor, Seegrid’s fleet management software.

Seegrid said its entire fleet of AMRs can autonomously navigate dynamic industrial environments with its Seegrid IQ technology, which fuses data from cameras, lidar, and machine learning models with its proprietary 3D computer vision system.

“Seegrid combines proven technology with expert automation services to ensure our customers’ automation initiatives deliver ROI [return on investment] from Day 1,” said Jim Rock, CEO of Seegrid. “Sumitomo is well-positioned to safely and continuously optimize, adapt, and expand their use of mobile automation as their material handling requirements scale.”

Seegrid provides robots and services

Seegrid said its connected automation combines AMRs, software, and services. The Pittsburgh-based company said its Palion AMRs have driven millions of production miles without any personnel safety incidents. It added that global manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics enterprises rely on it to automate material flow in complex environments.

The company provides project design, deployment, change management, user training, and data-driven consultation services. Seegrid also said its systems can reduce waste and build operational resilience.

Fast Company recently named Seegrid the No. 4 most innovative robotics company in the world by Fast Company, and Frost & Sullivan recently presented it a Technology Innovation Leader Award.

Ranked No. 1 in automated tow tractor market share by Interact Analysis, Seegrid noted that its Palion Tow Tractor can move multiple payloads weighing up to 10,000 lb.

In this product demonstration video, watch Seegrid’s industry-leading fleet of autonomous mobile robots in action, including the Palion Lift, Palion Pallet Truck, and Palion Tow Tractor.

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Seegrid Palion Tow Tractor AMR autonomously moves materials for Sumitomo Drive Technologies in Chesapeake, Va.

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