The robotics industry is making significant progress in building robots that can pick items in a warehouse, ready for packing and shipping. With robotics and sensor technology advancing rapidly, the fully-equipped robot picker and packer will one day become a reality, making robot ‘hands’ viable.

This article was first published in the July 1st 2021 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.

Well done to Narrow Aisle which launched the Easi-Pick at the height of the pandemic. Designed specifically with e-fulfilment operations in mind, the Easi-Pick is a compact ride-on electric-powered vertical order picker that delivers hugely improved productivity and increased safety for warehouse staff as they carry out a range of picking duties at both lower levels and at height within warehouse aisles. The market has responded very positively to this exciting new model.

LYDIA, the voice-picking package for which EPG has been best-known in the UK, with clients such as parcel carrier giants and multinational retailers with thousands of users, is still helping UK SMEs who need to streamline their warehouse operations. While this technology is embedded within the EPG ONE suite, there is no requirement to migrate to EPG’s own supply chain software in order to adopt the technology. Lydia Voice remains fully available as a standalone package that can be easily integrated into all major WMS suites.

Congratulations to Vanderlande which has signed a new contract with Australia’s largest food and grocery retailer, Woolworths, to deliver STOREPICK, a robotised, end-to-end automated case picking (ACP) warehouse solution. The system will be installed in a new, innovative regional distribution centre (DC) in Moorebank Logistics Park in Sydney and will supply over 200 stores in New South Wales from 2025. The solution has been designed using the latest technologies in material handling, including the Vanderlande ADAPTO shuttle system with flexible in-rack shuttles, free-roaming AGVs, intelligent robots for case picking and Goods-to-Picker workstations.

E-commerce is so convenient, but waiting a whole day for the order to come can be a drag and that’s why q-commerce is such a fast growing trend, says Eric Carter, Solutions Architect at Indigo Software. To be successful in the q-commerce sector, warehouses need to be highly technology and data driven. They need highly efficient operational processes to maximise cost efficiencies, like voice directed picking and putaway.

It’s great to see all the advances in picking and robotics may push those advances still further. A warehouse may have an existing robot to help speed up order fulfilment and inventory management, while the humans do the picking and packing, says Guidance Automation. This already provides significant benefits to an organisation, including improved accuracy and productivity, and new levels of efficiency. But once automation and robotics development reach the next stages where a robot can perform the picking itself, it will have additional capabilities because the technology has evolved, in turn, becoming more affordable and usable, unlocking new advantages.

George Simpson

Features Editor

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