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.
Surgere’s Robi platform has successfully completed a full-scale pilot at a Dayton, Ohio, Tier-1 automotive supplier’s distribution center and is ready for large-scale deployment.
Robi integrates RFID technology with Fetch Robotic’s mobile robot platform to autonomously capture RFID label information from all angles and directions.
Moving on programmable routes, the integrated platform transfers asset identification and location data to Surgere’s cloud-based asset management system.
Validating and providing further evidence of where tagged packaging, parts, tools and other assets are located within any given facility and to on-hand inventory.
Robi’s data acquisition accounts for height of stacked or racked product above floor, depth within shelving, and the speed of robotic travel, thereby completely removing the need for manual counting and searching, says Surgere.
Robi also provides a 3D map of the facility and part location as part of the cycle count. Together, the richness of accurate inventory data along with inventory location “greatly enhances inventory management and retrieval”, says Surgere.
William Wappler, president and CEO of Surgere, says: “Even with WMS systems in place, many of our clients find the fast-paced automotive part and container inventory storage, retrieval, and distribution process to often be ad hoc, time-intensive, error-prone, and costly.
“Without supporting technology, it can be a process in chaos.
“After rigorous testing and evaluation, we’ve arrived at a place where our decision was solidly in favor of robotics over drones and other mobile and fixed devices.
“We found Robi is a much more accurate and granular form of RFID data acquisition in automotive environments.
“Using Robi technology; inventory tracking takes place constantly, consistently, quietly, safely and accurately.
“Robi’s real-time reporting capabilities, location mapping, and advanced sensor technology allows a company to confidently know their inventory is closely monitored 24 hours a day.”
Wappler adds that a number of other deployments are also under way. “Make no mistake, Robi is a game-changer in inventory and cycle counting automation within automotive supply chain digitalization. We are thrilled at the prospects of making our clients more successful.”
A new acquisition method in Surgere’s growing range of visibility and control technology, the data captured by Robi feeds Surgere’s overarching supply chain visibility and control solution, COS.
This cloud-based analytics engine provides Surgere clients with real-time information and data analytics for both upstream and downstream supply chain activity.
Robi’s mobility platform comes by way of Fetch Robotics, a San Jose-based technology firm providing robotics solutions for the warehousing and intra-logistics markets.
Fetch robots come equipped with a dynamic obstacle avoidance feature that senses and avoids potential collisions with moving obstacles based on trajectory and speed.
In addition, occlusion detection allows Fetch robots to slow when approaching blind corners.
Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics, says: “We are pleased to partner with Surgere and help to automate inventory with our autonomous robot platform.
“Fetch’s expertise in robotics and Surgere’s leadership in supply chain combine for a formidable solution to bring more transparency and accuracy to inventory.”