Robot crushes and kills Ventra Ionia technician
Occurred: July 2015
Wanda Holbrook, a 57 year-old maintenance technician performing routine duties on an assembly line at auto-parts maker Ventra Ionia Main, Michigan, USA, was 'trapped by robotic machinery' and crushed to death.
Two years later her husband, William Holbrook, filed lawsuit (pdf) alleging wrongful death, naming five companies involved in engineering and integrating the machines and parts used at the plant: Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, FANUC, Nachi, and Lincoln Electric.
Holbrook had been in the plant’s six-cell '100 section' when a robot unexpectedly activated, loaded a trailer-hitch assembly part and jammed it onto Holbrook’s head, crushing her skull.
The incident raised questions about the safety of the robotics system as a whole, and its liability. Prodomax Automation Ltd., which built the assembly lines, settled with Holbrook's family in 2021.
Published: August 2023