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Third party e-fulfillment provider invests in robotics

10 December 2020

Active Ants has selected 60 GreyMatter-directed robots from GreyOrange for its new e-fulfillment centre.

GreyOrange, a global software provider that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimise fulfillment operations, has had its GreyMatter operating system and Ranger MoveSmart robots implemented in Active Ants’ new e-fulfillment centre in Roosendaal, The Netherlands.

The 20,000 sq m warehouse features the GreyMatter Smart Zone Transfer application, utilising Ranger MoveSmart robots to autonomously move and sort inventory in flexible process flows not possible with fixed conveyors or sorters.

Active Ants managing partner Jeroen Dekker says: “The GreyOrange robots team with our employees to fulfill customer orders with greater efficiency while also creating a high quality, pleasant work environment. The setup is unique in the world.”

Active Ants provides warehousing services to various e-commerce companies in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany and stores, packs and distributes goods for more than 250 customers and more than 3 million orders annually.

“No matter what I need to do with zone transfer, I can alter the process flow in GreyMatter even though I’m not a programmer. This level of flexibility allows us to meet our current needs while also having the ability to quickly make changes. We can easily modify the robot movements if needed as well as scale up the solution in line with our throughput growth to smartly manage capital investment.”

At the Roosendaal e-fulfillment centre, Smart Zone Transfer happens autonomously as GreyMatter software orchestrates the complete process flow as Ranger MoveSmart robots convey inventory to various workstations. The process begins as Ranger robots take empty boxes to employees who fill them with goods brought by other robots. Next, Ranger robots transport the filled boxes to packaging machines where they are sealed and weighed. Then, Ranger robots collect the packages and sort them to the correct zones for shipping directly to customers. 

Process flows executed by Ranger robots can be altered as needed through simple changes in GreyMatter’s intuitive Command Center interface. With traditional conveyor systems and most existing software platforms, this type of change would typically take months of customised solutioning and implementation.

“No matter what I need to do with zone transfer, I can alter the process flow in GreyMatter even though I’m not a programmer,” says Dekker. “This level of flexibility allows us to meet our current needs while also having the ability to quickly make changes. We can easily modify the robot movements if needed as well as scale up the solution in line with our throughput growth to smartly manage capital investment.”

Unlike fixed infrastructure that is difficult or impossible to reconfigure, Ranger MoveSmart autonomous mobile robots perform with complete flexibility. Through orchestrated integration with GreyMatter, Ranger MoveSmart can convey, move or sort anywhere in the DC and provide rapid response to changing processes and accelerated throughput.

“Fast-growing companies require automation that equips them to easily adapt their fulfillment processes as market dynamics change,” said Akash Gupta, cofounder and chief technology officer for GreyOrange. “They don’t want to be constricted by fixed infrastructure that locks them into process flows for 10 to 15 years. The power to quickly adapt is what gives retailers an edge in today’s world, and it’s a foundational design principle of our GreyMatter Fulfillment Operating System and family of Ranger robots. We’re pleased to deliver this unmatched innovation and versatility to Active Ants as part of their goal of delivering exceptional service to their customers,” Gupta added.

For more information, visit www.GreyOrange.com

 
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