DHL deploys robotic trolley
07 June 2016
The Effi-BOT from French start-up Effidence is an automated trolley that follows pickers through the warehouse.
DHL has run a pilot test including robot technology for collaborative automated order picking in a DHL Supply Chain warehouse in Unna, Germany. It is designed to work safely with and around people. During the test, two robots supported the pickers by carrying the weight and automatically dropping off the orders once fully loaded. The warehousing staff are said to have appreciated the option to work hands-free and not having to push or pull carts.
A common challenge for today's logistics sector is the high frequency of picking processes in smaller entities due to reduced inventories and increased online shopping. In a non-automated setting manual pickers are confronted with heavy carts and high payloads restricting the picker to single order picking while forcing them to walk longer distances.
"The picking cart follows the picker through the rack system. Once it reaches full capacity, the picker 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," explains Michael Artinger, site manager DHL Supply Chain, who was responsible for the test.
In addition to EffiBOT, collaborative robots for value-added services such as co-packing as well as mobile piece picking robots autonomously navigating through warehouse shelves are being tested.
DHL is testing different robot types and systems with a view to permanently implementing the best.
Assisted order picking is only one part in the automation revolution that will transform the world of logistics, says DHL. Its Robotics in Logistics report expands on the argument.