DHL begins trialling warehouse robots Baxter and Sawyer

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Deutsche Post DHL is currently testing two collaborative robots in its warehouses to perform co-packing and value-added tasks, including assembly, kitting, packaging and pre-retail services.

Baxter and Sawyer, developed by robotics firm Rethink Robotics, are smart, adaptable solutions, designed to support staff and enhance productivity in the warehouse.

DHL is currently testing how to integrate several Baxter and Sawyer robots into various operational sites across the globe. The carrier is also researching 3D printing possibilities to create specialized grippers for the robots to enable additional tasks to be completed in the warehouse environment.

Matthias Heutger, senior vice president, strategy, marketing and innovation, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, said, “Historically, the distribution environment has been difficult to automate using traditional industrial robots, which do not respond well to variability. In our recently published DHL Trend Report Robotics in Logistics we found that 80% of logistics facilities today are still manual due to the complexity of the operations. As technology improves however, the logistics industry is benefitting from the adoption of collaborative robots to improve efficiency.”

Adrian Kumar, vice president of solutions design North America at DHL Supply Chain, added, “Baxter and Sawyer robots are some of the most advanced collaborative robots on the market, and we plan to deploy them in a variety of packaging and inventory tasks that will allow us to use our employees for higher value work. By deploying these robots to work in tandem with humans, we can ensure our production lines are adjusting to changes and running more efficiently year-round.”

Markus Kückelhaus, vice president innovation and trend research, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, said, “The logistics industry has been unable to leverage smart, collaborative robots until recently, and the high performance Sawyer robot is changing the game in what we can and cannot automate. We are excited about bringing flexibility and efficiency to our factory floor, enabling shorter cycle times, more uptime and helping our bottom line.”

June 21, 2016

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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