DHL has successfully ran a pilot test including robotic technology for collaborative automated order picking in a DHL Supply Chain warehouse in Unna, Germany.
The robot called EffiBOT, from the French start-up Effidence is a new, fully automated trolley that follows pickers through the warehouse and takes care of most of the physical work. It is specifically designed to work safely with and around people. During the test, two robots supported the pickers by carrying and automatically dropping off the orders once they were fully loaded. The warehousing employees were highly appreciative to have the option to work hands-free and not have to push or pull heavy 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 having to walk longer distances.
“The picking cart follows the picker through the rack system. Once it reaches full capacity, the picker simply 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,” said Michael Artinger, Site Manager, DHL Supply Chain, who was responsible for the test.