DK Fulfilment (DKF) and Intelligent Robots are to begin trials of what they claim is the world’s simplest conveyor robot after being awarded an Innovate UK grant. The trials will take place at DKF’s dedicated fulfilment facility in Coventry from June and will see DKF install a fleet of Intelligent Robots’ RPUCK autonomous mobile conveyor robots at the 165,000 sq ft site.
The RPUCK model is designed to reduce the time order picking staff spend pushing trolley loads around a store. The system works with RPUCK workers picking orders directly on to a trolley within a designated picking zone. Once a trolley is full, a robot delivers an empty trolley to the picker and takes the full load directly to the packing and dispatch area of the store.
Mark Elward, managing director of DK Fulfilment, said that the growing use of automation was helping to improve efficiency. “Third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses have traditionally been manually driven, but with the growth in online retail and the well-documented warehouse labour shortages, more and more 3PLs simply must consider automation as a way of improving operational efficiency, so we are delighted to be working with Intelligent Robots on this exciting trial,” he said.
Zheng Lin, CEO of Intelligent Robots, said: “So far robotic solutions have been technology rather than process driven, which we believe explains the lack of adoption we have seen – particularly in logistics. We want to turn this on its head by taking a fundamentally holistic approach to tackling business and technology challenges.
“The Innovate UK grant not only gives us the opportunity to validate that our approach is valuable for a wide range of businesses, but under the guidance of DK Fulfilment we believe the trial will support our belief that our product is a genuinely innovative solution.”
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