Saturday 3rd Dec 2016 - Logistics Manager

DHL starts testing warehouse robots

DHL Supply Chain has run a pilot test with French robot technology “EffiBOT” for an automated order picking operation in Unna, Germany. The robot is an automated trolley, which follows pickers through the warehouse and “takes care of most of the physical work.”

DHL starts testing warehouse robotsDuring the pilot, two robots were able to support the warehouse’s pickers by carrying the weight and automatically dropping off orders once loaded.

Collaborative robots for other services, like co-packing and mobile piece picking robots, which autonomously navigate through warehouse shelves, are also being tested.

“The picking cart follows the picker through the rack system,” said Michael Artinger, site manager, DHL Supply Chain (responsible for the test). “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.”

“In the following weeks, DHL will continuously perform tests with different robot types and systems”, says Markus Kückelhaus, VP innovation & trend research, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “These evaluation results will then determine which technologies will be permanently implemented and position DHL as one of the leaders in an automated future of logistics.”