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System launched to boost order picking in manual warehouses

23 May 2019

Gebhardt has launched the GridPick semi-automatic order picking system, which consists of freely navigating driverless transport robots with an integrated WCS.

The order picker is guided through the warehouse and through the picking process in a route-optimised manner. The picked articles are verified using a barcode scanner integrated into the vehicles and sorted into the payload area. The employee has their hands free, is not required to shift heavy loads, and the distances and times spent searching for items are significantly reduced.

Key Points

The GridPick is a “Co-Bot” – a cooperative robot

Employee uses a tablet as user interface

SmartWatch connects employees to the system

Can be used with third party WMS or Gebhardt’s StoreWare WCS

Working together with the GridPick robots is intuitive. The GridPick is regarded as a “Co-Bot” – a cooperative, collective and collegial robot – which supports and eases the burden on employees by enhancing efficiency within manual warehouses.

The employee uses a tablet as the user interface, which is attached at eye level. Information on the shelf side, the exact compartment, the article and the quantity to be picked is displayed here. Each article is verified using the barcode scanner below the tablet. LED strips are integrated on the side of the loading area, which indicate the container in which the scanned article is to be placed according to the put-to-light principle. Thus, false picks are almost completely eliminated.

Integration 

All robots communicate via WLAN with the superimposed Gebhardt StoreWare WCS and report back their current status regarding location coordinates, battery charge, etc. Using SmartWatch, employees are connected to the system at all times and receive information and instructions.

The WCS connects to the warehouse management system via flexible interfaces and receives the picking orders. GridPick is compatible with existing warehouse management systems. Alternatively, it is possible to use Gebhardt’s in-house warehouse management system StoreWare as a complete package. Through integration with the Gebhardt Galileo IoT Cloud, the foundation for future topics such as predictive maintenance or artificial intelligence has already been laid. Dashboards visualise the performance of the system online and show areas for improvements. The possibilities are wide-ranging and can be flexibly selected according to customer requirements.

Safety

The robots are intrinsically safe and, with their two laser scanners, have a 360° panoramic view without blind spots. Based on the environmental data, they identify people and obstacles and navigate unerringly to the specified positions. Thanks to intelligent navigation, no floor markings, induction loops or reflectors on the walls are necessary to autonomously approach the various positions. Thereby route guidance is completely free.

Picking process

At the starting point, the individual robot is equipped with load carriers that are assigned a unique place on the payload area. In the next step, the robot navigates autonomously throughout the warehouse. At a predefined location, the vehicle waits for an employee. As soon as an order picker registers with the GridPick, the picking process begins with the warehouse compartment of the first item being displayed. The robot stops at the specified storage compartment and shows the employee via tablet from which compartment it has to remove which quantity. After the picked article has been scanned by the robot, the LED bar indicates exactly into which container the article is to be placed. As soon as the pick has been acknowledged, the next storage compartment is approached. This process is repeated until all pick orders assigned to the robot are complete and at this point, the robot leaves the employee and independently transports the picked articles to the agreed delivery point. The employee is then guided via SmartWatch to the next free GridPick robot.

 
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