Vanderlande presented a study model based on Smart Item Robotics (SIR) technology at this year’s POST-EXPO on 9-11 October in Hamburg, Germany. The event is renowned as being the world’s leading showcase for the postal, parcel and express industry.
SIR technology focuses on the robotised handling of single items in applications such as order picking and infeed loading. Vanderlande also demonstrated its ‘bin-to-bin’ picking concept, in which a collaborative robot based on SIR principles can operate both independently and together with an operator.
Today’s e-commerce distribution centres (DCs) need to pick a large variety of items, which results in increasingly complex operations. Alongside this, the scarcity of manual labor further increases the pressure on a DC’s performance.
SIR – also known as collaborative robotics – is an effective and risk-free way to gradually introduce robotic technology into a DC while retaining high levels of scalability and flexibility.
“Operators can work safely side by side with the robot unit without using a fenced cell,” explained Vanderlande’s market director of parcel, Rob Qualm. “This creates a low-risk working environment with high flexibility. Our state-of-the-art software will allow the robot to pick the majority of products without the need for teach-in, which is a huge benefit considering the ever-increasing range of products in e-commerce.”
The robot optimizes order carton filling by gently stacking items and can also be used for picking, with a capacity of up to 600 items per hour. “Our SIR innovation has been positively received because it’s not only low risk, but a human operator is still required,” added Rob. “As such, our short-term vision is that it may only require one operator to oversee several workstations, for example.”