Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Plus Automation wins its first robotics-as-a-service contract

Logistics and supply chain technology startup Plus Automation has won its first robotics-as-a-service contract with Jun Co, a Japanese company with diversified interests including fashion, food and fitness products. 

The company was jointly established in June 2019 and is 60 per cent owned by Mitsui, a Japanese conglomerate, and GLP Japan, said to be the largest Japanese logistics company but also has real estate and other interests.

The contract between Plus and Jun consists of a standard annual subscription together with the option to add robots when cargo volumes increase, making it “a highly convenient service package”, says Plus.

The RaaS for Jun will use the “t-Sort” sorting robot system from China’s Zhejiang Libiao Robots.

The use of t-Sort for shipping apparel products has been found to improve operational efficiency by 30 per cent or more compared to conventional methods.

In addition to t-Sort, Plus Automation plans to offer a number of other new products to the market going forward, including collaborative picking robotics solution “PA-AMR” from Japan-based Rapyuta Robotics.

In Japan, the increase in volume of goods traded via e-commerce is not only pushing up warehouse work volumes, but also the level of quality required.

Meanwhile, labor shortages due to population decline are becoming apparent and are expected to become an increasingly serious issue into the future.

Mitsui says it is aiming to solve these issues through the provision of RaaS via Plus Automation, and will also promote the development of a flexible logistics service – logistics as a service, or LaaS.

Mitsui is a global company with offices in more than 60 countries and approximately 6,000 employees. Its annual revenue in 2008 was around $55 million.

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