Technology

DHL Tests New Robots to Support Warehouse Operations

DHL Tests New Robots to Support Warehouse Operations
Danny Gill

DHL is currently testing Baxter and Sawyer, two smart and collaborative robots, in its warehouses on co-packing and value-added tasks, such as assembly, kitting, packaging and pre-retail services. Baxter and Sawyer, by Rethink Robotics, are smart, adaptable solutions that support warehouse staff and help enhance productivity at DHL facilities.

“Historically, the distribution environment has been difficult to automate using traditional industrial robots, which do not respond well to variability,” said Matthias Heutger, SVP, Strategy, Marketing & Innovation, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation. “In our recently published DHL Trend Report “Robotics in Logistics”, we found that 80 percent of logistics facilities today are still manual due to the complexity of the operations. As technology improves, the logistics industry is benefiting from the adoption of collaborative robots to improve efficiency.”

DHL is currently testing the integration of several Baxter and Sawyer robots into various operational sites across the globe. DHL also recently purchased its first Sawyer robot and researched on 3D printing possibilities to create specialized grippers for the robots, allowing for additional tasks to be completed in the warehouse.

“Baxter and Sawyer robots are some of the most advanced collaborative robots in the market, and we plan to use them in a variety of packaging and inventory tasks that will allow us to deploy our employees for higher value work,” said Adrian Kumar, Vice President, Solutions Design, DHL Supply Chain North America. “By having these robots work in tandem with humans, we can ensure that our production lines are adjusting to changes and running more efficiently year-round.”

“The logistics industry has been unable to leverage smart, collaborative robots until recently, and the high-performance Sawyer robot is changing the game in what we can and cannot automate,” said Markus Kückelhaus, Vice President Innovation and Trend Research, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation. “We are excited about bringing flexibility and efficiency to our factory floor – enabling shorter cycle times, more uptime and helping our bottom line.”

Technology
Danny Gill

Danny is currently a Contributing Writer for Airfreight Logistics and Logistics Manager (LM) and is quite the foodie. He’s always on the hunt for new and exciting dishes to sample, and is never one to back down from a spicy challenge. His travels have taken him around the world, and he’s been able to experience many different cultures (and food).

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One of the world’s biggest logistics companies, Kuwait headquartered Agility, recently announced a major new investment of $100 million over three years to develop and launch Shipa.com. The new digital platform will allow businesses, entrepreneurs and consumers to manage their freight, e-commerce, and urban deliveries online. Chairwoman for Agility, Henadi Al-Saleh said, “Shipa.com makes life easier through technology, whether you are a small business running your supply chain with a few clicks, or a consumer getting your shopping delivered with a few taps on your phone, Shipa.com makes logistics convenient, jargon-free, trackable, accountable and accessible.” Shipa.com will provide the following services: Shipa Freight that will allow small businesses to get instant and transparent freight quotes along with the ability to book, pay and track ocean and air shipments around the world on any mobile or another digital device. Shipa E-commerce enables online merchant’s access to the world’s most complex and fastest growing e-commerce networks. The service will integrate freight, fulfilment, delivery and returns solutions throughout the Arabian Gulf, along with additional reach in Africa and Europe planned for the future. Shipa Delivery will provide businesses and consumers with on-demand same-day, next-day or cross-border delivery across the whole region of Arabian Gulf. Al-Saleh added, “Logistics is the backbone of commerce. But it’s complex, and that complexity is disproportionately difficult for small businesses to navigate. Small businesses often lack access to the logistics resources, tools and solutions that larger businesses have,” “No wonder then, that we interviewed 800 small and medium-sized businesses around the world, we found that 78% wanted to see their logistics move online. Shipa helps close that gap, empowering small businesses to take advantage of the opportunities being created by the global digital economy.” Considered by Al-Saleh as the innovation arm of Agility, Shipa.com will hasten the introduction of technology, development of new digital products. Al-Saleh concluded, “Shipa.com is the marriage of Agility’s logistics expertise and resources and the digital-first capabilities of the Shipa platform. It offers enormous value for our customers and brings new value to our company.”

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