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

DHL and Wärtsilä complete tests of mobile robots from Fetch Robotics for warehouse operations

Industrial technology company Wärtsilä and the world’s largest logistics company, DHL, say they have been utilising mobile robots from Fetch Robotics to streamline warehouse operations. 

The companies say they have completed a “successful pilot”, where they tested autonomous vehicles from Fetch Robotics.

The pilot was carried out in Wärtsilä’s central distribution centre in Kampen, the Netherlands, where the entire logistics chain of Wärtsilä’s spare parts, from order intake to customer delivery, is managed.

As Wärtsilä’s partner, DHL runs the warehouse operations.  Continue reading DHL and Wärtsilä complete tests of mobile robots from Fetch Robotics for warehouse operations

Logistics automation startup Grabit ships products to two Fortune 100 companies

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Grabit, a startup automation systems provider to the manufacturing and warehouse logistics industries, has shipped multiple units of its material handling robot, Stackit, to what it says is “an industry-leading athletic shoe and apparel company”.

Grabit also shipped multiple units of Meterit, its “intelligent conveyor system”, to a “global leader” in express package delivery services.

To date, Grabit has secured $25 million in financing from investors and strategic partners. This funding is being applied to develop flexible robotic automation solutions that leverage Grabit’s electroadhesion technology and machine learning software to provide up to 20x productivity improvement for its customers’ operations.  Continue reading Logistics automation startup Grabit ships products to two Fortune 100 companies

Swisslog Americas forms automotive group

swisslog warehouse and distribution

Swisslog Warehouse and Distribution Solutions Americas has formed an automotive group and appointed Terry Krantz as vice president of sales and consulting.

Swisslog Warehouse and Distributions Solutions Americas, a Member of the Kuka Group and leading provider of best-in-class intralogistics solutions, announces the formation of a new automotive business unit focused on developing and delivering intralogistics automation to tier one suppliers and original equipment manufacturers.

Markus Schmidt, president of Swisslog WDS Americas, says: “Tier one suppliers and OEMs have already been turning to Swisslog and benefiting from our turnkey solutions designed to streamline their work-in-process manufacturing, kitting, and parts storage.  Continue reading Swisslog Americas forms automotive group

Fetch Robotics unveils expanded line of autonomous mobile robots

Company says it now offers “comprehensive options” for autonomous collaboration with transport robots

Fetch Robotics has introduced two new autonomous mobile robots to its fleet: Freight500 and Freight1500.

Both new robots, like the Freight predecessor, operate safely in commercial and industrial environments where they are deployed to automate the delivery of bulky and heavy loads.

The company and the new robots were showcased at ProMat 2017 in Chicago, Illinois, a few days ago.  Continue reading Fetch Robotics unveils expanded line of autonomous mobile robots

KernPack signs exclusive distribution deal with robotics experts Skilled Group

kernpack industrial robot small

Signs exclusive distribution deal with robotics and laser guided vehicle specialist Skilled Group

KernPack, a distributor of specialist packaging machinery and solutions, has signed an exclusive UK and Ireland distribution deal with Skilled Group, enabling it to sell the company’s complete range of robotic palletising systems and automatic guided vehicles.

Part of KernPack’s strategy to widen its capabilities, by adding end-of-line warehouse automation to its packaging and mailing solutions, the deal also takes the company into the warehouse and logistics market.

Designed for automated warehousing and truck loading, Skilled Group’s products are already used around the world by Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Nestlè, Kraft, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson in installations costing up to €10m.

The company’s wide range of robotic equipment includes articulated robotic arms, gantry and SCARA robots for the automatic palletising of products or pallet handling and automatic guided vehicles, or AGVs, for any situation where a traditional forklift truck is used.  Continue reading KernPack signs exclusive distribution deal with robotics experts Skilled Group

Online grocery store Ocado tests robots for picking items for shopping orders

Transforming warehouse automation from Cambridge Consultants on Vimeo.

Ocado, which claims to be the world’s largest online grocery store, is testing robots which may end up doing the shopping on behalf of customers.

As well as being a grocer, the company has a significant in-house technology business unit, which makes it “not your usual retailer”, according to a spokesperson.

“We have an in-house engineering team that designs and builds robots, highly automated control systems and warehouse solutions,” adds the spokesperson. “Their work covers anything from materials engineering and PCB [printed circuit board] design to DFM [design for manufacturability], safety and electronics.”  Continue reading Online grocery store Ocado tests robots for picking items for shopping orders

Yusen Logistics awards Swisslog automated warehouse contract in Singapore

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Swisslog’s automated warehouse technology

Yusen Logistics, a provider of contract logistics and air and ocean freight forwarding, has selected Swisslog warehouse and distribution Solutions to deliver the “innovative AutoStore Automated System” in Singapore.

The autonomous robots, which sit on the top of an aluminium grid as part of the innovative storage system, is expected to go into operation in 2017.

This light goods automatic storage and retrieval system (AutoStore) investment is a result of Yusen Logistics’ insight into the philosophy of the shared economy and the need to manage rising business costs in the current global, lower-growth economy. Continue reading Yusen Logistics awards Swisslog automated warehouse contract in Singapore

Consumer demand, and the demanding consumer, for the holidays

thanksgiving

By Thomas R. Cutler

Consumer spending trends suggest this holiday season for retailers and logistics companies will drive an improvement of 15 per cent year-over-year.

With retail sales in the US expanded 0.8 per cent in October after a strong 1 per cent gain in September, the Wall Street Journal’s Josh Mitchell reported, in the best two-month stretch of sales in at least two years.

The brisk spending is a strong sign that the economy is picking up steam, with both wages and employment rising. The expansion, mostly e-commerce, proves that once again online sales are growing at triple the rate of overall retail sales.  Continue reading Consumer demand, and the demanding consumer, for the holidays

Swisslog signs ‘major contract’ with tire manufacturer Michelin

michelin tires

Michelin, the tire manufacturer, has selected Swisslog warehouse and distribution solutions to automate a new distribution center in the US.

The order value of the automation project amounts to a high multimillion-dollar range and was booked in the second quarter of 2016.

The new distribution center will supply passenger and truck tires throughout North America, allowing the company to meet its ambitions for responsible logistics.  Continue reading Swisslog signs ‘major contract’ with tire manufacturer Michelin

Logistics robots: The way you move

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As Joni Mitchell once sang, and Janet Jackson reiterated, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”.

So it was when Amazon bought Kiva Systems in 2012 for a chart-topping $775 million. Now one of the world’s largest online retailers, Amazon is also growing its logistics business, with 30,000 Kiva robots working away at its warehouses all over the world.

At the time of the Amazon purchase, Kiva had assured its customers that it would continue to sell its robots to outside companies, but it didn’t happen.

Not only has Amazon utilised all of the autonomous warehouse vehicles Kiva has produced, it has renamed the company Amazon Robotics.  Continue reading Logistics robots: The way you move

Fiege buys logistics robots from startup company Magazino

magazino logistics robot

Munich-based startup Magazino, which is backed by Siemens, has sold three perception-controlled, item-specific picking robots to fulfillment service provider Fiege.

Deployment will begin in September, when the robots will be implemented into Fiege’s Mega Center to pick shoes that have been ordered online.

The perception-controlled and database-connected robot is able to pick single items, like shoe boxes, autonomously with its laser and camera-system, as well as transport them to the desired destination.

CEO and co-founder of Magazino, Frederik Brantner, says: “We are at a point in time where revolutionary solutions are being developed in a market that is crying out for disruption, and Magazino is at the forefront of driving this innovation.  Continue reading Fiege buys logistics robots from startup company Magazino

inVia claims its product is the only autonomous goods-to-box logistics robot

invia robots

The logistics sector is proving to be one of the fastest-growing markets for robotics and automation technology providers.

According to Research and Markets, the global logistics robots market is expected to grow at more than 30 per cent a year up to 2020.

And while there are plenty of established companies providing logistics robots, this is probably a good time to start a new one.

inVia is one of the startups which is hoping to capture some of this growing market, and is offering something it says is unique in its solution.  Continue reading inVia claims its product is the only autonomous goods-to-box logistics robot

Giant distribution centers look to robots to deal with increasing e-commerce orders

axium Distribution-center-robotic-depalletizing

Changes taking place in consumer behavior have drawn a new map, a new type of building and a new kind of automation for the retail sector.

Growth has taken place in both the number and size of the facilities that turn e-commerce orders into product deliveries. The distribution center, or operation fulfillment center, is increasingly emerging in locations that experience low real estate costs, offer tax incentives to locate there, have an available workforce for seasonal surges and offer multiple ways of transporting goods from their locations.

In the US, that means areas close to major metropolises, such as New Jersey and Oakland, CA, Midwestern hubs that are unencumbered by traffic-congested highways, such as Omaha, NB and Kansas City, MO, and traditional port cities such as Houston, TX, Norfolk, VA, and Savannah, GA. Continue reading Giant distribution centers look to robots to deal with increasing e-commerce orders