Robotics & Automation News

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European e-grocer Rohlik to install Brightpick robots at ‘multiple warehouses’

Brightpick, a provider of warehouse automation solutions for order fulfillment, has completed a nine-month pilot of its robotic solution in the Prague fulfillment center of Rohlik Group, one of the largest e-grocers in Europe.

Rohlik now plans to roll out the Brightpick solution across multiple warehouses in 2023 and 2024, starting with Munich in July 2023 and continuing with Frankfurt, Vienna, Prague and other fulfillment centers.

The solution includes Brightpick Autopicker and Brightpick Dispatcher autonomous mobile robots and enables Rohlik to fully automate picking, consolidation and dispatch of orders.

Grocery orders contain an average of 30 items per order, so item picking is a major operational challenge. In addition, 78 per cent of grocers state rising workforce costs as one of their top three challenges and 92 per cent are dissatisfied with online order picking efficiency.

A typical grocery fulfillment center also has to contend with various picking zones to handle ambient, fresh, chilled and frozen items. Brightpick offers the only mobile robot solution that automates both picking and order consolidation across these different zones.

Rohlik has more than 1.5 million e-grocery customers and 12 million orders per year. Once fully deployed in the Munich warehouse, Brightpick will be able to dispatch over 1,000 order totes (bins) per hour and 5,000 completed orders per day (an order may contain multiple totes).

The Brightpick solution contains three technologies that are valuable to grocers that want to automate their fulfillment warehouses: Brightpick Autopicker robots for picking items and consolidating orders in the aisles, Brightpick Dispatcher robots for consolidating orders arriving from different picking zones, and Brightpick Intuition software to orchestrate and optimize the entire Brightpick robotic fleet.

Auto picking ‘quickly and accurately’

The recently announced Brightpick Autopicker robots are like humans with carts that move around the warehouse, retrieve product storage totes from shelving, and robotically pick items from those totes to consolidate orders directly in the aisles.

The robots do not need to travel back and forth to centralized picking stations, which results in faster picking.

Brightpick Autopickers can reliably pick most groceries with 99.9 per cent accuracy, leading to happier customers and fewer returns. The robots also come with Goods-to-Person capabilities for items that require human dexterity, and are able to autonomously find the nearest human picking station to complete a pick if needed.

Brightpick Autopickers are fully patented and powered by proprietary machine vision and AI algorithms. Their advanced AI algorithms have been trained on more than 250 million picks to date and use machine learning to improve with each pick.

Speed order delivery

In most online grocery fulfillment centers, including Rohlik’s, picked items from each picking zone are sent via totes on conveyor belts to a central location for consolidation.

Brightpick Dispatcher robots consolidate items arriving from these various picking zones into completed orders to dispatch for delivery, curbside pickup or in-store pickup.

Brightpick Dispatchers also enable companies to pre-pick customer orders in advance by storing them in a temporary staging area until they need to be dispatched.

This enables warehouses to smooth out picking volumes throughout the day and increase total daily throughput. Companies can choose to deploy Brightpick Autopickers and Brightpick Dispatchers alone or together.

The brain that controls the fleet

The entire Brightpick robot fleet, be it Brightpick Autopickers, Brightpick Dispatchers, or both, is orchestrated and optimized by Brightpick Intuition software. It is the AI-powered “brain” of the solution that guides the robots from picking all the way to dispatch.

A typical warehouse will have 15 to 100 Brightpick robots and Brightpick Intuition enables companies to remotely monitor and control all aspects of the fulfillment operations, tracking every robot, order, tote and item in real time.

Rohlik ‘significantly reduces labor costs’

Ales Malucha, chief engineering officer of the Rohlik Group, says: “Brightpick will enable us to significantly reduce our labor costs across our fulfillment network while increasing accuracy and efficiency.

“We greatly value the flexibility and robustness of the Brightpick solution.”

Rohlik Group includes well-known brands in the Czech Republic, in Germany, in Austria, in Hungary and in Romania.

Jan Zizka, CEO and co-founder of Brightpick, says: “We are deeply committed to helping grocers increase margins.

“Rohlik’s successful pilot and planned rollout of our Brighpick solution across Europe provides further validation of our solution for grocers. They are tremendously respected in Europe and we look forward to working closely with them in this next phase of deployment.”

The fully autonomous, end-to-end Brightpick robotic solution takes less than a month to deploy, enables warehouses to reduce their picking labor by 95%, and cuts costs for order fulfillment by half.

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