In the rapidly evolving landscape of modern warehouses and distribution centres, the pressure is on optimising inventory capacity and delivering fast, efficient order processing. Warehouse managers are increasingly looking at new technologies to help achieve cost and operational efficiencies which are vital for growth and maintaining customer satisfaction.
Whilst the initial take-up of deploying robotics in intralogistics automation has perhaps been cautious at L.A.C. we are seeing this first-hand as a transformative force, set to revolutionise materials handling and optimise operations across warehouse and distribution centre environments.
In the dynamic and competitive grocery market, our customer needed to elevate productivity and throughput in their inbound-to-put-away and palletising operations. After detailed assessment and planning, the L.A.C. team designed and delivered a bespoke solution that saved workforce costs and doubled overall productivity. This particular system included telescopic conveyors, laser-based product profiling and scanning, diverters and two ABB IRB 660 4-axis robots with capabilities of generating real-time stacking patterns for new SKUs.
A similar efficiency enhancement was needed at our customer iForce, a leading 3PL offering a fully integrated supply chain capability to multi-channel retailers. iForce were looking for a system that would provide a rapid and agile order picking and replenishment solution for a large range of SKUs, typically being updated every two weeks.
The key challenge for this project was to provide a solution with the necessary agility and throughput speeds that could handle such a quick turnaround of SKUs. iForce also needed a solution that was highly flexible and expandable to ensure scalability, yet without compromising on efficiency.
Following significant assessment of volumetric SKU data, L.A.C.’s design team determined the most fitting solution for iForces requirements was the installation of an Exotec Skypod – a revolutionary order-picking solution using a fleet of robots.
The Exotec Skypod structure consisted of high density racking on the warehouse floor, reaching to 12m in height, with a capacity for 16,000 bins. A total of 43 Skypod robots were deployed to autonomously pick items and navigate to the bespoke pick stations for manual order picking. The pick stations are also able to handle replenishment via the Skypod robots, ensuring a seamless, circular operation.
The application of robotic technology, from static to autonomous, continues to add significant value to customer operations. At a leading bakery retailer we recently installed a fully integrated solution for their end-of-line tray pick & pack production phase. This was required to replace the existing set-up by enhancing productivity and eliminating the chance of a full stack of trays becoming unstable. Our solution was designed to transfer, detect and re-orientate trays containing products, before labelling and arranging the trays into stacks of 20. These stacks were then palletised, wrapped and labelled ready for dispatch. The overall solution incorporated an ABB IRB robot capable of lifting 200kg of product, alongside a conveyor system handling 20 trays per minute. The solution was fully integrated with a vision system able to determine the correct orientation of each tray, with a turntable fitted to realign any non-compliant tray. The result has significantly enhanced their productivity as the line now runs at a higher throughput, and has also eliminated the possibility of trays becoming unstable and causing loss or damage to the products. Using robotics and automation in such a way has also automated product traceability and removed repetitive, manual lifting tasks from staff allowing them to concentrate on value-added activities within the production and distribution processes.
Across intralogistics, the benefits of robotics are compelling: increased productivity, throughputs, enhanced operational agility, reduced labour costs, improved accuracy and order fulfilment rates, all within a safer work environment. Through our system integration design expertise, coupled with our strategic partnerships, L.A.C. is helping companies across numerous industry sectors embrace robotics to leverage significant benefits.
From gaining a competitive edge to reducing total cost of operations, investment in fit-for-purpose robotics provides the flexibility to respond quickly to dynamic market demands and enhances customer satisfaction. Be part of the Robotic Revolution, contact our team today, email@example.com.