The role of experts in distribution center robotics and automation

viastore

By Thomas R. Cutler

Distribution centers are facing ever shorter delivery times, requiring higher flexibility and efficient goods management; distribution centers are vital competitive factors for companies in trade and industry.

Perfect supply chain management is the basic requirement and there are few tested experts in the planning and implementation of customized warehousing systems for distribution and logistics.

From small warehouse facilities (under 50,000 square feet) to very large DCs (1M+ square feet), finding the right solutions for distribution centers or logistics centers must be turnkey, including warehouse technology, equipment, control system, software, and construction work.  Continue reading The role of experts in distribution center robotics and automation

The wheel robot: intelligent modular actuator concept

wheeled robot 1

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Wheel robots

The wheel robots are for the larger part derived from the Mars rovers, which have actuators integrated into the wheels to help with the movement on the rugged grounds in space. This is made possible with the help of 12 volt linear actuators.

There is some elemental aspects of robotics that are involved in the setup. For there to be synchronous movement on a ground that is not evenly leveled, there is need for each of the units to have its own local control unit.

The local control units are then connected to the central control unit to make sure that they all are moving in the same direction, despite the fact that the wheels they control are experiencing variance in travel and elevation.  Continue reading The wheel robot: intelligent modular actuator concept

GateHouse Logistics joins Industrial Data Space

gatehouse logistics

Supply chain data unifier joins association of business leaders to identify, analyze and evaluate best practice requirements for open Industry 4.0 ecosystems across all industrial sectors

Data tracking unifier GateHouse Logistics today announces that it has become a member of the Industrial Data Space (IDS) user association to participate in the development of reference architecture for Industry 4.0 software solutions and business models. 

Launched by European research organisation Fraunhofer in January 2016, the association brings together science and industry to develop open architecture models for all sectors turning to the applied use of Industry 4.0. Examples include smart manufacturing, and smart supply chains. 

The association has its roots in Germany and aims to become a global organisation open to all researchers and industry members.  Continue reading GateHouse Logistics joins Industrial Data Space

Market for automated material handling equipment to reach $45 billion by 2022

forklift truck

By Thomas R. Cutler

Research and Markets released data suggesting that the automated material handling equipment market is expected to reach $44.68 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 7.9 percent between 2016 and 2022.

According to the analysis, market growth is propelled by increasing demand for automated solutions; the need to ensure a safe working environment; and reduction in labor cost through advanced robotics. Unit load material handling systems are estimated to hold a large share and grow at a high CAGR in the automated material handling equipment market during the forecast period.

Unit load material handling systems are widely used in various industries as they are cost effective and have many advantages such as the ability to handle several items simultaneously, thereby reducing the number of trips, time required for loading and unloading, and the cost of handling.  Continue reading Market for automated material handling equipment to reach $45 billion by 2022

EiraTech launches ‘one of the best performing’ warehouse robots in logistics

eiretech

EiraTech, a developer of robotics solutions for warehouses and e-fulfilment centres, has launched what it claims is “one of the best performing, most efficient and safest” robotic vehicles on the logistics market. 

EiraTech says its autonomous guided vehicle can “literally” find stuff and move stuff around – in the right order. It also sports a red button.  Continue reading EiraTech launches ‘one of the best performing’ warehouse robots in logistics

Emerson drives streamline port crane application

crane at the DB Port Szczecin container terminal

Measuring over 100m wide and over 60m high and with a lifting capacity of 45t, the port crane used for loading and unloading containers is one of the many items of equipment that have been modernised during the current year by Apator Control engineers.

The crane at the DB Port Szczecin container terminal has undergone a thorough electrical and mechanical refit.

As part of the electrical overhaul, Apator Control used systems from the company Control Techniques: Unidrive M AC and Mentor MP DC drives controlled by the Simatic S7 Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).  Continue reading Emerson drives streamline port crane application

DHL launches robotics challenge to build self-driving delivery cart

DHL sidewalk delivery robot
DHL sidewalk delivery robot

Logistics giant DHL has launched a robotics challenge in which it is “calling all inventors and visionaries” to develop a prototype of a self-driving delivery cart. 

It’s not the first time DHL has organised a robotics challenge, but this one comes soon after the company announced that it is completely reorganising its entire global supply chain around robotics and autonomous systems.

The company has been increasing the number of robots it uses globally. In its DHL Singapore hub, which it opened in April, the company says it started by using 130 robotic shuttles.

DHL has also more than doubled the capacity of its Japan distribution capacity by opening a new facility which uses the latest highly automated systems.

The first prize for the DHL robotics challenge is €10,000.

Robocom launches voice solution for warehouse management

accuspeech

Robocom Systems has released the newest version of R-Voice, which is now powered by the AccuSpeechMobile Intelligent Voice+ Automation Solution. 

The software enables warehouse management systems voice productivity.

Robocom and AccuSpeechMobile have completed an OEM agreement that enables the embedding of the mobile-intelligent AccuSpeechMobile solution into Robcom’s warehouse management system, providing its customers the most cost-effective voice solution on the market.  Continue reading Robocom launches voice solution for warehouse management

Autonomous vehicles ‘major attraction’ at CeMAT logistics fair

cemat 2016

Autonomous vehicles were a major attraction for visitors this year at the annual logistics trade fair, CeMAT

Deutsche Messe, which owns and organises CeMAT, says this year’s event was one of the biggest and most successful ever, and certainly the most innovative in the sense that there was a huge amount of interest in new technology such as autonomous vehicles.

The motto for this year’s CeMAT was “Smart Supply Chain Solutions”, and the fair organisers say there was a “substantial growth in the number of foreign visitors”.

From 31 May to 3 June, roughly 1,000 exhibiting companies from 44 countries (exhibitors from outside Germany: 55 percent) presented solutions for efficient and intelligent management of logistics chains.

During the four days of the show, visitors saw for themselves that the intelligent warehouse is already reality. Stephan Weil, Premier of Lower Saxony, opened the trade fair.  Continue reading Autonomous vehicles ‘major attraction’ at CeMAT logistics fair

Harvest Automation sells robotic warehouse business to focus on agriculture

harvest automation hv-100
Harvest Automation’s flagship product, the HV-100 autonomous robotic vehicle

Harvest Automation has sold its robotic warehouse automation technology and business to focus on robotic material handling in a variety of agriculture markets.

Harvest developed what it says are “groundbreaking robotic systems” for e-commerce order fulfillment over the last year and a half.

The company had completed a small fleet of robots that demonstrated a three-fold increase in order picking efficiency.  Continue reading Harvest Automation sells robotic warehouse business to focus on agriculture

‘World’s first’ independently operating warehouse robot happy in new job

magazino robot

Start-up company Magazino has launched what it claims is the world’s first independently operating logistics robot

German logistics company Sigloch has been using what is considered the first robot that can operate independently in a warehouse.

The robot was developed by Munich-based start-up Magazino, in which Siemens owns a 49.9 percent share.

After a series of test runs, the robot called Toru Cube recently began to work continuously in a huge warehouse complex operated by Sigloch in Blaufelden, Germany.

Sigloch is a publishing logistics company that supplies books to a variety of firms, including online giant Amazon. Continue reading ‘World’s first’ independently operating warehouse robot happy in new job

June is National Safety Month: Why investing in safety is a sound business decision

whirlpool warehouse
Safety at Whirlpool a top priority. Picture courtesy of Seegrid

Three in 10 American workers acquire disability prior to retirement. Thomas R. Cutler looks more closely at the issue of safety in the workplace 

June is National Safety Month which focuses on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work. Safety is a deliberate act and investing in safety is a sound business decision.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 1 million workers suffer back injuries each year, and account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses. A quarter of all compensation indemnity claims involve back injuries, costing industry billions of dollars on top of the pain and suffering borne by employees.

Injuries are avoidable and innovation and automation are part of the safety paradigm this month, during National Safety Month, and for many years to come.  Continue reading June is National Safety Month: Why investing in safety is a sound business decision

Lean leadership and the Topper Industrial journey

Ryan Brown (President) & Ed Brown (Founder and Father of the Fork Truck Free Movement in North America) Topper Industrial
Ryan Brown (president) and Ed Brown (founder and father of the Fork Truck Free Movement in North America) Topper Industrial

Manufacturing journalist Tom Cutler talks with Chris Mosby, a Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Blackbelt

For more than 20 years, Topper Industrial, based just outside of Milwaukee, WI, has been a leader in the material handling equipment industry.

The company’s product roster features industrial carts, conveyors, lifts, lifts and tilts, shipping racks, containers, casters, and cart components.

From mother-daughter carts to quad steer carts to tilt carts and rotate carts, Topper’s material handling solutions make delivering material line side more effective through more efficient practices.  Continue reading Lean leadership and the Topper Industrial journey

SAP to showcase logistics solutions featuring augmented reality glasses at CeMAT

sap s4hana-cloud

CeMAT Update: SAP, the business software company, will be making its debut as a participating exhibitor at CeMAT 2016, which opens its gates to the public from 31 May to 3 June in Hannover, Germany.

The company will present its new software for logistics operations which feature augmented reality smart glasses and is ready for highly automated warehouses with autonomous vehicles.

The company’s stand will occupy a prominent position in Hall 27, a popular visitor destination that houses the Logistics IT displays. The theme of the SAP presentation is “Networked Logistics”.

Dr Andreas Gruchow as the responsible member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe, says: “This is SAP’s contribution to the keynote theme of this year’s CeMAT, namely ‘Smart Supply Chain Solutions’, which focuses attention on the digitalized and networked value-adding chain. Visitors to the next CeMAT will get a clear sense of the way innovative IT systems are revolutionizing logistics and opening up new possibilities within the sector.”  Continue reading SAP to showcase logistics solutions featuring augmented reality glasses at CeMAT

Locus Robotics raises $8m funding for logistics robot solution

locus robotics

Technology veteran Rick Faulk joins Locus Robotics as new funding raised to accelerate growth and development 

US-based e-commerce fulfillment robotics company Locus Robotics has hired Rick Faulk to serve as the company’s chief executive officer.

The company is heading towards production and sales of its solutions and has appointed Faulk to lead it in this next stage of growth and development.

Locus also says it has raised $8 million in Series A funding. The round was led by additional funding from seed investors. The new capital will be used to expand product development and go-to-market initiatives.  Continue reading Locus Robotics raises $8m funding for logistics robot solution