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

Distribution requires a warehouse control system

hytrol wcs

By Thomas R. Cutler

Automated conveying systems in distribution and warehouse environments need to pivot. Dropping in a conveyor system without a warehouse control system (WCS) makes no sense.

Bill Maple, director of software solutions for conveyor company Hytrol, shared new approaches connecting business systems to warehouse automation.

Working closely with a network of integration partners this approach is obvious for new implementations.  That said with a strong economy, Maple noted that existing systems are being reconfigured to operate differently, or legacy systems are requiring technology or automation upgrades.  Continue reading Distribution requires a warehouse control system

Fetch signs deal with SAP on logistics robot warehouse system

fetch freight robot

Fetch Robotics has entered a partnership with SAP that incorporates SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) application with the Fetch and Freight robots from Fetch Robotics.

Fetch Robotics builds robot systems for the logistics industry. Unveiled in May 2015, the Fetch Robotics system is comprised of an autonomous mobile platform (called Freight) and an advanced mobile manipulator (called Fetch).

Fetch and Freight use a charging dock for continuous operations, allowing the robots to charge when needed and then continue on with their tasks. In addition, the system includes accompanying fleet management software, fetchcore, to support the robots and integrate with the warehouse environment.  Continue reading Fetch signs deal with SAP on logistics robot warehouse system

MiR opens US office, launches autonomous mobile robot into North America

mir robot

Mobile Industrial Robots, MiR, has opened its first US office and is launching its autonomous mobile robot – the MiR100 – in the North American market.

MiR says its robots are already in use in 19 countries at prominent manufacturers such as Leoni, Flextronics, and Continental.

MiR says its products are at the forefront of a new generation of autonomous mobile robots whose ease of use, flexibility and payback of less than a year. The company believes it will secure a leadership role in North America.

The emerging mobile robot industry is expected to achieve total sales of 14,500 units and revenue of $20 billion over the next three years according to the International Federation of Robotics.  Continue reading MiR opens US office, launches autonomous mobile robot into North America

CeMAT theme to be smart supply chain solutions

cemat

CeMAT Update

Automatic guided vehicles that optimize their own routes. Warehouses that automatically recognize missing inventory and order refills in real time. Systems that develop into complete service providers, thanks to innovative IT. CeMAT 2016 brings all the fascinating trends in intralogistics together at the same time and place.

The future belongs to the Smart Factor – but only after perfectly integrated logistics processes create the necessary preconditions. This makes the intelligent control of inventory flows an absolute must.

Manufacturers, dealers, service providers: All of these are on the lookout for new technologies and ideas. And CeMAT is the only place that brings together groundbreaking solutions for the entire supply chain – under the keynote heading of Smart Supply Chain Solutions.   Continue reading CeMAT theme to be smart supply chain solutions

The critical role of innovative automation for fast-growing online retailers

Inside 03 backcountry warehouse small
Inside the Backcountry.com warehouse

By Thomas R. Cutler

Park City, Utah-based Backcountry.com is a great example of the powerful growth in the online e-tailing sector. Twenty years ago the company comprised of two men, a stack of avalanche beacons, and a garage in Park City; the company has grown to become one of the leading online specialty retailers in the United States, selling clothing and outdoor gear for hiking, camping, road biking, mountain hiking, rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, skiing, avalanche safety, snowboarding, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, road and trail running, and more.

Jeff Carter, senior vice president of global fulfillment, at Backcountry.com, says: “Our mission is to connect people to their passions and enable them to get outdoors and enjoy the gear.”

When Carter started with the company in 2001, it shipped 265 packages on its busiest day. This past year, the company shipped about 60,000 on its busiest day. The journey has involved quite a transformation in material handling and distribution. The role of automation has made this all possible.  Continue reading The critical role of innovative automation for fast-growing online retailers