DHL Supply Chain has completed a pilot project using automated robots to assist employees with order-picking tasks at a warehouse in Unna, Germany.
Created by French startup, Effidence, the EffiBOT is a fully automated trolley that follows pickers through the warehouse undertaking any physically demanding tasks. During the test, two robots supported the warehouse pickers by carrying the weight of the orders and automatically depositing them once fully loaded. This meant that pickers were not required to push or pull any heavy carts and could fulfill more than one order at a time.
“The picking cart follows the picker through the rack system,” said Michael Artinger, site manager for DHL Supply Chain. “Once it reaches full capacity, the picker simply sends it to the designated drop-off location, while another picking cart joins. This solution makes moving from single to multi-order picking a more efficient and ergonomic process.”
In addition to EffiBOT, DHL is trialing collaborative robots for co-packing services and autonomous robots for navigating warehouse shelves for picking orders.
Markus Kückelhaus, vice president, Innovation and Trend Research, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, said, “In the following weeks, DHL will continuously perform tests with different robot types and systems. These evaluation results will then determine which technologies will be permanently implemented and position DHL as one of the leaders in an automated future of logistics.”
To view a video of the EffiBOT trial in action click here.
June 8, 2016