Voices: Rick Rice

Rick Rice is a controls engineer at Crest Foods, a dry-foods manufacturing and packaging company in Ashton, Illinois. With nearly 30 years’ experience in the field of automation, Rice has designed and programmed everything from automotive assembly, robots, palletizing and depalletizing equipment, conveyors and forming machines for the plastics industry but most of his career has focused on OEM in the packaging machinery industry with a focus on R&D for custom applications.

Collaborative plus

Collaboration isn’t just about the interaction between mankind and a machine—it’s about vendors taking away the mystery and making it easier for a design to come to fruition

By Rick Rice
Jul 10, 2019

Much has been said about the emergence of collaborative robots into the mainstream of manufacturing. Robots have been around for a very long time, but the development of robots that could operate in the same workspace as humans has truly taken the technology to the next level. Not too many years ago, the very thought that a robot could interact with humans in an intimate environment would have been the product of a storyboard artist making the next episodes of “The Jetsons.” Now it is becoming commonplace, and one would be hard-pressed to imagine an automated assembly line that didn’t at least consider the prospect of collaborative robots.

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