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Honeywell partners with Otto Motors to develop robotic solutions for supply chain operations

Honeywell has agreed a strategic collaboration with Otto Motors, a division of Clearpath Robotics, giving warehouses and distribution centers throughout North America an automated option to handle some of the most labor-intensive roles in an increasingly scarce job market.

The collaboration enables Honeywell customers to increase efficiency, reduce errors and improve safety by deploying Otto’ autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in their facilities.

These AMRs provide significant productivity benefits by automating the movement of carts used to transport picked orders or returns and can travel over any floor surface smooth enough to handle a traditional cart pushed by a worker.

Instead of spending more than half the day walking, workers can simply park carts in designated pickup locations throughout the facility and call robots to retrieve them.

These AMRs also offer a flexible and powerful way to transport pallets typically accomplished primarily with forklifts and conveyor systems.

Keith Fisher, president of Honeywell Intelligrated, says: “Supply chains continue to be stressed by staffing shortages and consumer demands driving expectations of speedy and accurate fulfillment.

“Tackling the more dynamic, unstructured environments of today’s distribution centers calls for more sophisticated robots, and Otto’s AMRs have been proven to be deployed and adapted quickly to changing market conditions or peak buying seasons.”

Otto’s easy-to-install AMRs are smart enough to interact safely with human co-workers and other vehicles, find a different route if their original path is blocked, and respond to rapid changes in orders or logistics needs — all without human intervention.

Otto AMRs can work in conjunction with Honeywell automated solutions including its Smart Flexible Depalletizer and next-gen AS/RS system, further increasing efficiency and automation within the warehouse.

Matt Rendall, CEO and co-founder of Otto Motors, says: “Otto Motors provides autonomous material handling inside manufacturing facilities and warehouses and is the technology behind some of the largest deployments of AMRs in North America.

“Our relationship with Honeywell shows we partner with the very best integrators and tech leaders to provide business with industry expertise to automate a wide range of workflows in their facilities.”

While AMRs handle repetitive and often time-consuming tasks, increasingly scarce labor resources can be shifted to higher-value jobs. This alone delivers multiple benefits, such as boosting
worker satisfaction, while reducing injuries and turnover rates.

The pandemic and its lasting effects on labor shortages is causing companies to reconsider the way they operate. A Honeywell study revealed more than half of companies are more willing to invest in automation because of the pandemic and its lasting effects.

The same study showed companies see increased speed of tasks, greater productivity and increased employee utilization and productivity as the top three potential benefits from automation.

Robot sales in North America had the strongest year ever in 2021 as more industries look to automation to increase productivity and alleviate ongoing labor shortages, according to the Association for Advancing Automation.

The industry association revealed that, while companies are expanding their applications of robotics and automation throughout their facilities, many first-time users are increasingly turning to robotics to stay productive and competitive.

The Otto Motors collaboration gives Honeywell customers a complete suite of fixed and mobile robotics solutions, backed by expert systems integration, solutions development and reliable 24/7 technical support.

Honeywell will offer demonstrations of Otto AMRs working with Honeywell’s Smart Flexible Depalletizer at MODEX 2022 (booth B7619a), illustrating the benefits of integrating AMRs into the warehouse.

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