Coca-Cola orders robotic warehouse system from Swisslog

Swisslog has secured an order for the first of its PowerStore intralogistics systems from Coca-Cola Malaysia.

As part of Coca-Cola Malaysia’s investment of RM500 million ($119 million) to expand the size and production capacity of its current plant at Bandar Enstek, the company has commissioned Swisslog for a flexible, robotic, data-driven automated warehouse for intralogistics.

This will make it the first Swisslog PowerStore system in South East Asia.  Continue reading Coca-Cola orders robotic warehouse system from Swisslog

Flytrex launches ‘world’s first’ autonomous drone delivery system in Reykjavík

A company called Flytrex claims it has launched the world’s first autonomous drone delivery system in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Flytrex says there is currently “sushi in the skies of Iceland” as the drone logistics company partners with Aha.is to launch what it says is the “world’s first fully operational autonomous drone delivery system”.

Drone technology company Flytrex is partnering with Aha, Iceland’s largest online marketplace, for the on-demand urban drone delivery service.  Continue reading Flytrex launches ‘world’s first’ autonomous drone delivery system in Reykjavík

Kuka expected to roll out collaborative robot on autonomous platform in more factories

Kuka is expected to make its mobile collaborative robot available to more factories, partly as a result of its takeover by Midea, the Chinese home appliances manufacturer. 

Midea has many large factories where a mobile robot which can also pick and place objects would be very useful.

Kuka’s collaborative robot is called iiwa, and it’s already in use at various large companies, including automotive giant BMW.  Continue reading Kuka expected to roll out collaborative robot on autonomous platform in more factories

DHL uses Effibot logistics robot to deliver Formula E racing cars

Logistics giant DHL called on the Effibot autonomous vehicle to help with the logistics demands of delivering all 40 fully-electric racing cars which took part in the recent Formula E Championship decider in Montreal, Canada.

Along with the cars, DHL also delivered lithium-ion batteries, charging stations, garage equipment and track infrastructure for the 10 teams that will compete for the title.

With the season finale, DHL also concludes its third season of delivering logistics solutions for the only fully single seater electric car racing series around the globe.  Continue reading DHL uses Effibot logistics robot to deliver Formula E racing cars

Amazon has 100,000 robots working at its warehouses worldwide

Amazon is estimated to have a total of 100,000 robots working at its numerous locations worldwide, according to a report on the Seattle Times website. 

And so far this year, the company has produced 55,000 of the little machines.

The world’s largest online retailer bought logistics robot-maker Kiva Systems in 2012 and has since built a separate business unit – Amazon Robotics – based on the technology it acquired.

The main robot is a small mobile platform for use in warehouses, and it’s manufactured in Amazon Robotics research and production facility in North Reading, Massachusetts, in the US (video below).

Surgere partners with Fetch Robotics to launch cycle-counting logistics robot

Surgere has partnered with Fetch Robotics to launch what it calls a “Robotically Optimized and Balanced Inventory” system – or, in other words, a logistics robot called Robi.

The companies say Robi is designed to help automate cycle counts and improve overall accuracy of on-hand inventory within automotive manufacturing and warehouse environments.

Automated and autonomous warehouse management systems are becoming an increasingly important differentiator as competition in the logistics sector intensifies as a result of growing online shopping worldwide.

Surgere is a provider of visibility and control systems within a digitized supply chain – radio frequency identification, location and environment sensors, and advanced data analytics, and so on.  Continue reading Surgere partners with Fetch Robotics to launch cycle-counting logistics robot

There will be 35 million autonomous trucks on the road by 2020, says Frost

Business consultancy Frost & Sullivan expects 35 million connected and autonomous trucks will be on the roads by 2020.

Connected trucks will be integral to future logistics and freight operations as smart trucks will be a necessity in smart cities, says Frost.

And in what may be a controversial prediction Frost says: “By 2020, 35 million trucks are expected to be connected with digital freight solutions and autonomous technologies, transforming the trucking industry into a smarter, efficient and more productive sector.”  Continue reading There will be 35 million autonomous trucks on the road by 2020, says Frost

Ingram Micro investing $10 million in warehouse automation startup HDS Global

Computer technology provider Ingram Micro is to invest $10 million into warehouse automation startup HDS Global, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal

HDS is said to be developing “swarm” software which enables different robotic systems to work together in warehouses.

Ingram, which claims to be the world’s largest distributor of computer and technology products, handles online orders for large retailers such as Wal-Mart.  Continue reading Ingram Micro investing $10 million in warehouse automation startup HDS Global

Opinion: Materials handling automation and robotics requires IIoT monitoring

By John Hayes, Vecna Robotics

There is a frequent complaint of Industry 4.0, Big Data, and the Industrial Internet of Things. Too much data, little of which can be accessed and used effectively.

From tuggers, automated guided carts, and automated guided vehicles, there is a real need to include IIoT monitoring which defines the next phase of automation and robotics in materials handling.

Without IIoT monitoring, plant managers, operations managers, logistics coordinators throughout manufacturing and distribution sectors lack the data collected which offers real-time continuous status and health information.  Continue reading Opinion: Materials handling automation and robotics requires IIoT monitoring

DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

It’s not a glamorous business, logistics. Doesn’t make the mainstream news very often. And it’s not likely to be the top career choice for most people. 

It’s understandable. After all, how interesting can it be to move boxes from point A to point B?

Put like that, it’s not much to write home about. But now, with driverless vehicles everywhere, augmented reality glasses and exoskeletons for warehouse workers, and robotics and automation technologies of all kinds promising to transform the industry worldwide, logistics is about to get much more interesting.  Continue reading DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

DHL invests in four new Sawyer collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics

DHL has invested in four new Sawyer robots in order to evaluate the solution as part of its robotics research and development programme.

The company describes the purchase of the Sawyer robots as “the first step” in its robotics deployment journey.

DHL says the collaborative robots will be flexibly used across its 19 contract packing, or “co-packing”, and production logistics centres across the UK and Ireland region.  Continue reading DHL invests in four new Sawyer collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics

Kiva Systems developers launch new company and their own logistics robot

Kiva Systems was a company that built a mobile robot for logistics operations, mainly for use in warehouses. It was a basically a small platform on wheels, and proved popular throughout the industry.

But then it got bought out by Amazon, which initially said it would still sell it to the rest of the logistics industry but actually didn’t. Instead it rebranded Kiva as Amazon Robotics and turned it into a business unit of its own.

The online retail giant now has one of the largest number of robots in operation of any company in the world.

But two former executives at Kiva Systems – Jerome Dubois and Rylan Hamilton – have now launched a new company and a range of new logistics automation solutions.  Continue reading Kiva Systems developers launch new company and their own logistics robot

Bharati Robotics shows off autonomous industrial cleaning robot

bharati agv crop
The Bharati autonomous guided vehicle for materials transport

Bharati Robotics Systems has been showing off its new autonomous industrial floor cleaning robots. 

The company says the small vehicle saves labour costs and increases productivity by up to 200 per cent, and cleans the floor better than humans, or the “highest quality of cleaning”.

The robot’s battery lasts up to four hours on one charge and it has a smartphone interface through which it can be monitored and controlled.  Continue reading Bharati Robotics shows off autonomous industrial cleaning robot

ST Engineering acquires Aethon, maker of the TUG autonomous mobile vehicles

aethon logistics robot

Singapore Technologies Engineering has acquired Aethon and its autonomous mobile robot, TUG, usually seen performing some logistical task or other. 

ST Engineering is a $5 billion engineering firm with global operations and strong expertise in mobile robotics.

The value of the deal was not made public.

Aethon will become a division of ST Engineering’s US headquarters, VT Systems and will be part of the group’s land systems sector which is led by ST Kinetics, which is focused on robot technology innovation.  Continue reading ST Engineering acquires Aethon, maker of the TUG autonomous mobile vehicles

Next generation pick-to-light offers dynamic automation scalability

Pick-to-Light

By Thomas Cutler

Until now pick-to-light equipment has represented a significant fixed capital expense with little consideration for variable use, often driven by seasonality, warehouse/distribution variance, and project management flux.

From manufacturers to 3PL (third-party logistics) companies, these swings in low or high usage represented a level of waste as purchased lights went unused and wasted.

Pick-to-light is a fulfilment technology which uses alphanumeric displays and buttons at storage locations to guide the manual picking and recording of items for shipment.  Continue reading Next generation pick-to-light offers dynamic automation scalability