It is predicted that there will be over 4 million robots working in more than 50,000 warehouses by 2025. With intelligent sensors and machine learning enabling robots to pick single items, evidence from real-world applications shows that they are securing genuine benefits for warehouse operators.

KNAPP’s Pick-it-Easy Robot fulfils orders reliably around the clock.

Easing labour issues

With labour markets tight, one major advantage of robotic fulfilment is to ease the pressure in terms of recruiting and retaining warehouse staff. For example, pharmaceutical distributor McKesson in the US is relying on KNAPP’s Pick-it-Easy Robot to help take the strain during unpopular night shifts. The robot works reliably around the clock, with AI enabling it to recognize different packaging and features. This means orders can be processed fully automatically while fulfilling all legal requirements.

Fast and accurate picking

Working alongside the manual fulfilment stations at the distribution centre of German electrical supplies wholesaler Obeta near Berlin, KNAPP’s Pick-it-Easy Robot was deployed with minimal downtime and was operational within days. It achieves a peak speed of 600 items per hour (depending on order flow), which is equivalent to the manual workstations – although, of course, it can maintain this speed over a much longer period. The robot picks with an accuracy of 99% despite having to learn new items each week.

Integration with pocket sorter

Third-party logistics specialist GXO is using a robot system from KNAPP for automatic insertion of fashion items into pockets at its fulfilment centre in Tilburg, Netherlands. By combining a sophisticated camera system and AI-based object recognition technology, the Pick-it-Easy Robot overcomes the challenge of handling flexible textiles wrapped in film. The robot is able to find the ideal grip point, pick up the product and automatically insert it into a pocket by placing it onto a chute that slides the item into the pocket. During this process, the product’s barcode is read, so that every item in the system can be found and retrieved. This solution is ideal for either loading pockets with very fast-moving items or for handling returns, especially during peak periods such as Black Friday.

Robots for food retail

Pick-it-Easy Robot is being used to pick online grocery orders by Shufersal, the largest supermarket chain in Israel. Meanwhile, US grocery giant Kroger is using RUNPICK – KNAPP’s Robotic Universal Picker – to pick and assemble full cases as mixed pallets or roll containers for store replenishment. In this solution at Kroger’s Great Lakes DC, RUNPICK is used with KNAPP’s intelligent KiSoft Pack Master software to create stable and store-friendly loads.

RaaS option

With KNAPP’s robotic solutions available either as an outright investment or in a Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) model, there is arguably more incentive than ever to invest in robotic picking.

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