Robotics help manufacturing operations: a robotic cell for the blind

Pre-Tec offers customizable robotics solutions, including a robotic work cell for blind operators.


Pre-Tec offers robotic products and services.Lighthouse for the Blind Inc. in Seattle uses a Robotic Finishing cell built by Pre-Tec, a division of Willamette Valley Company. The finishing cell supports production of Lighthouse’s E-Tool or Entrenching tool, a collapsible shovel used by members of the U.S. military as well as Relief Agencies. The components of the E-Tool are manufactured on a variety of equipment including the new robotic cell. By using adaptive technology with audio as well as enhanced visual monitors, Lighthouse helps blind operators to safely operate the robotic cell. Pre-Tec said the E-Tool program has created more than 15 jobs for a community of people with a 70% unemployment rate.


Pre-Tec offers http://www.pre-tec.comautomated solutions for accurate and efficient production, including products and services, with ability to custom-design advanced robotic systems and manufacturing cells for products ranging from micro circuit boards to trenching tools for the military.

Products and systems provide manufacturing and assembly techniques that meet and exceed goals for speed, accuracy, flexibility, and optimal throughput in all types of manufacturing and assembly environments. Projects include multi-axis robot arms, custom built end-of-arm tooling, conveyance systems and others.

Custom Robotics

PRE-TEC designs and builds turn-key solutions using multi-axis robot arms, custom end-of-arm tooling, conveyance systems, and safety hardware incorporating:

  • Multi-axis Configurations
  • Programmable Force Control Applications
  • End-of-Arm Tooling and Fixturing
  • ANSI- and OSHA-Compliant Safety Enclosures utilizing State-of-the-Art Sensor Technologies
  • Project Documentation
  • PC-Based Software
  • Process / Product Tracking
  • Training and Start-up Assistance
  • Maintenance and Service Programs

Pre-engineered Cells

PRE-TEC has developed pre-engineered cells for various manufacturing and finishing processes, including:

  • Welding Cells
  • Material Finishing Cells for grinding, polishing or sanding
  • Machine Tending Cells

Rufus Burton, Sales Manager for PRE-TEC, said a recently redesigned site incorporates a "Rapid Response mechanism so that visitors can pose a specific, detailed question and receive, within 24 hours and via phone, fax, or e-mail, a personal response from an engineer trained specifically in the appropriate discipline. Our Rapid Response Team is representative of our ability and commitment to responding to customers’ needs as quickly as is needed.”


- Edited by Gust Gianos and Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering,

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