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Press Release: Beringe 09/18/2018

  • First application robot vision technology in warehouse environment
  • In collaboration with Robomotive
  • Robotics important focus area on innovation agenda DHL

DHL and Robomotive have implemented a robot picking cell at the DHL Supply Chain campus in Beringe. The picking cell with an advanced vision system can process up to 600 boxes per hour. Repetitive tasks are being performed faster and more efficient and articles can be changed quickly. It is the first application of such robot vision technology in a warehouse environment.

Sebastiaan Bolt, Site manager of DHL Supply Chain: "Manual picking is labor intensive and physically strenuous and has a small chance of errors. This picking robot takes over this repetitive work so that our people can concentrate on more complex tasks. 

DHL supply chain has a broad innovation agenda that runs from augmented reality to AGVs. Robotics is an important focus area within innovation.

The robot pick system scans the location at the time of picking and can then identify individual boxes. Learning and master data are not necessary, allowing items to be exchanged easily and quickly. Tjalling de Vries, Innovation lead of DHL Supply Chain: "Without reprogramming, the items in the flow racks and on the pallets in the picking cell can be replaced by new top sellers, allowing us to respond even more quickly to changes in demand, for example as a result of sales promotions or consumer trends."

Robomotive has been running similar applications for some time, especially in production environments for picking individual items from a bin (bin picking). DHL wanted a generic solution in a larger area of ​​application in a traditional warehouse with flowracks and pallets. The application of DHL has already shown that the technology can indeed be used in this warehouse environment and with a good payback period.

The robot cell builds on the already initiated mechanization of the outbound process at DHL Beringe. “We have now achieved full automation for running items, "says Sebastiaan Bolt. "From the moment we have received the order, the boxes are automatically picked, labeled, sorted and transported to a loose loaded container. It illustrates our focus on innovative customer solutions."

For Robomotive the project is a definitive step as a company to introduce robots in a warehouse environment. Robomotive has delivered the robot cell turnkey. The robot at DHL has a reach of 3 meters and can lift up to 120 kg, so that with one robot 4 pallets and 25m pick front can be reached on a flow rack. "The robots have a payback period of approx. 3 years when used in regular day shifts. When used 24/7, this will of course be even faster”, says Michael Vermeer, CEO and founder of Robomotive. Thanks to the fully in-house adaptive combination of robot, vision and grab, the robot can mimic human eye-hand coordination, so that products no longer have to lie neatly in place.

Mark Kruysen, Operations Excellence Director DHL Supply Chain: "We are only at the beginning of a far-reaching robotization in our warehouses with which we will bring our operations to the next level of efficiency and employee satisfaction. With this focus on innovation we will be able to better serve our customers."

For a demonstration of the robot picking cell at DHL in Beringe, click: