Exotec unveils new warehouse automation system with integrated robot

A French company called Exotec Solutions has unveiled its warehouse robot, which looks similar to the mobile autonomous vehicles from a number of other companies. 

The market for such vehicles has been expanding, at least in terms of the number of companies offering solutions.

It remains to be seen how well they sell, but if Amazon’s heavy utilisation of similar logistics robots is anything to go by, the market is likely to grow fast.  Continue reading Exotec unveils new warehouse automation system with integrated robot

San Francisco effectively bans sidewalk robots

The local authorities in San Francisco have effectively banned robots from sidewalks in a vote a couple of days ago. 

Local businesses, especially takeaway restaurants, had been experimenting with using autonomous wheeled robots to deliver customers’ orders.

A number of robotics companies have been developing such robots. They include:

Starship is probably the most well known among these companies, having already made deliveries in other parts of the US, and having developed a partnership with Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes.  Continue reading San Francisco effectively bans sidewalk robots

GreyOrange launches new AI for logistics robots and warehouse automation

Automation and robotics company GreyOrange has released its next-generation software platform, GreyMatter, which features artificial intelligence.

The company made the announcement at the launch of the latest warehouse of the Nitori, said to be Japan’s largest furniture and home furnishing chain with over 400 stores.

The Butler robotics system from GreyOrange is being used at the Osaka centre of Home Logistics, a logistics subsidiary of Nitori which operates 34 distribution bases and a logistics network for product delivery to stores and e-commerce customers across Japan.  Continue reading GreyOrange launches new AI for logistics robots and warehouse automation

Fetch Robotics raises $25 million in investment round led by Sway Ventures

Fetch Robotics, a provider of a range of warehouse automation and logistics robot solutions, has raised $25 million in Series B funding.

The round was led by Sway Ventures with participation from existing investors O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Shasta Ventures and SoftBank Group US.

The Series B round brings Fetch Robotics’ total funding to date to $48 million.  Continue reading Fetch Robotics raises $25 million in investment round led by Sway Ventures

European Commission to accelerate intra-factory logistics for small businesses

The European Commission is to accelerate the automation of intra-factory logistics of small and medium enterprises, through a project called Logistics for Manufacturing SMEs, or L4MS.

The EC says L4MS will “completely digitalize logistics automation in factories”.

Initially, the plan was for L4MS to conceive three pilots and 20 cross-border application experiments to demonstrate “highly autonomous, configurable and hybrid, or human-robot, logistics solutions”, driven by the business needs of the manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps.  Continue reading European Commission to accelerate intra-factory logistics for small businesses

Bleum launches warehouse and logistics robotic system

A company called Bleum has unveiled its integrated warehouse robotics solution at the grand opening of its new showroom in Denver, Colorado. 

Bleum says that logistics robots are able to deliver cost savings of 70 per cent or more for warehouse operations, adding that the market is expected to grow to $22.4 billion by 2021.

The company says early adopters of logistics robots have found their “benefits extend beyond cost savings”, enabling greater agility to scale up and down operations to meet the ebbs and flows of demand, and significantly improve the speed and throughput of distribution centers.  Continue reading Bleum launches warehouse and logistics robotic system

Suning launches ‘basically unmanned’ automated warehouse with plans to use 1,000 robots

A company called Suning Commerce Group has unveiled its automated warehouse (video below) as part of what it calls its “smart retail” strategy.

Suning is a Fortune Global 500 company owned by Suning Holdings Group.

The company has put its automated guided vehicle warehouse into service in Fengxian District, Shanghai, “boosting its capabilities in the field of smart logistics”, according to Suning.  Continue reading Suning launches ‘basically unmanned’ automated warehouse with plans to use 1,000 robots

Logistics robots: NextShift’s ‘unique workflow’ increases productivity and efficiency

Exclusive interview with NextShift Robotics CEO

The robotics and automation industry has always held a fascination for many people – for seasoned professionals and even passing observers alike. 

And it’s been particularly interesting in the past couple of years, for several reasons.

One reason is the advancements in computing – both hardware and software, perhaps most importantly in networking.  Continue reading Logistics robots: NextShift’s ‘unique workflow’ increases productivity and efficiency

Rio Tinto demonstrates autonomous freight train featuring Ansaldo technology

Ansaldo STS says its technology and delivery capability were key to the success of mining giant Rio Tinto’s fully autonomous freight rail trial.

Ansaldo is a specialist supplier of driverless technology for metro, rail solutions.

The company says it has now proven its expertise in autonomous heavy freight rail, following Rio Tinto’s recent successful trial of Australia’s first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey (main picture).  Continue reading Rio Tinto demonstrates autonomous freight train featuring Ansaldo technology

Locus Robotics raises another $25 million in funding

Locus Robotics has raised $25 million in its latest funding round. 

Locus makes autonomous, mobile robots for use in e-commerce fulfillment warehouses, today announced it has secured $25 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm investing in the future of work.

Existing investors also participated in the round.  Continue reading Locus Robotics raises another $25 million in funding

Volvo unveils driverless truck aimed at ‘hub-to-hub’ intralogistics operations

Volvo has unveiled a new driverless truck which it says is an “innovative transport solution to drive safety and productivity”.

The company says that the self-driving truck, driving autonomously from one hub to another, is part of a development project exploring how automation can contribute to increased productivity, enhanced safety and lower environmental impact.

Volvo says that, in showing the truck, such aims and goals have for the first time been demonstrated to a broader audience.  Continue reading Volvo unveils driverless truck aimed at ‘hub-to-hub’ intralogistics operations

Warehouse management systems: A next-minute overview

With warehouses increasingly becoming a hub of robotic and automation innovation, we thought now would be a good time to take a closer look at this dynamic sector. 

First, the basics. What is a warehouse management system?

Basically, it’s a software application which enables the digital management of a warehouse.  Continue reading Warehouse management systems: A next-minute overview

Hanwha to build logistics automation facility for Nexen Tire’s Czech factory

Hanwha has closed a deal on a $79.26 million project to build a logistics automation system and facility for Nexen Tire in the Czech Republic.

A major Nexen Tire Czech plant is being built in Zatec, 70 km northwest of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.

The plant will serve as Nexen’s tire production base in Europe as the location lends itself to easy access to key markets in Europe including the UK, France, and Germany.   Continue reading Hanwha to build logistics automation facility for Nexen Tire’s Czech factory

Material handling: An overview of a fast-moving market

Material handling refers to the movement of items within relatively small spaces, such as a warehouse. 

In that sense, it’s different from logistics, which refers to movement of goods over longer distances, from city to city or across countries and continents.

But material handling falls within logistics, obviously, and can sometimes be categorised within intralogistics – as in, movement of goods within a company’s network of warehouses and manufacturing facilities.  Continue reading Material handling: An overview of a fast-moving market

Material Handling Systems acquires Atronix Engineering and Advanced Production Systems

Material Handling Systems has acquired Atronix Engineering and Advanced Production Systems.

MHS is a provider of advanced parcel sortation systems engineering and equipment. It has 115 employees and says it generates $1.2 billion revenue “from an installed base”.

Atronix is a controls systems integrator, while APS specialises in the engineering, design, and assembly of control panels.  Continue reading Material Handling Systems acquires Atronix Engineering and Advanced Production Systems