Copperweld Robotics

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s the hype surrounding robotics was remarkable. Unbelievable attendance and publicity surrounded every event. One year the robot show was at Cobo Hall in Detroit and had outgrown the hall to the point where they had booth set up on the modest sized floor of the adjacent Cobo Arena surrounded by empty seats normally filled for concerts and sporting events. With all the publicity and talk about robotics, I'm certain that the sales of books and publications outstripped the sales of industrial robots. With the big expansion, my father decided that the best way to survive was to sell the company to a larger concern that could take it to the next level. There was interest from several companies, including General Electric, but he ended up selling Auto-Place to a Fortune 500 Steel company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by the name of Copperweld. I think the change the name briefly from Auto Place, Inc. to Auto-Place Robotics and then later to Copperweld Robotics. There's too much to say here being on the cutting edge of technology and being owned by a steel company. I did work with many good people there and still communicate with them on occasion.

KC Demo

Above is a show demonstration machine that assembled keychains that were given away to show visitors. It involved six pick and place robots, a two camera vision system, stepper motor positioner and ultrasonic welder. After a couple shows, it was on display at a science center in Toronto.

KeysafeAssy Station 1

The key chains were call "Key Safes" shown above on the left. To the right is the first assembly station where the key ring is oriented and mated with the lower have of the plastic body.

More on Copperweld Robotics later.


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