Fetch Robotics and Körber unveil new case picking solution for DCs

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Fetch Robotics has announced a new integrated case pick-to-pallet solution with Körber. The new solution dynamically orchestrates the movement of warehouse associates and robots, combining Fetch’s Freight500 and Freight1500 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) with the optimisation capabilities of Körber’s warehouse management systems, supporting case picking workflows for facilities of all sizes.

Warehouse needs have risen dramatically over the past year, as a surge in consumer spending has increased demands on distribution centres. Additionally, distribution organisations face longstanding labour challenges. This includes hiring and retaining skilled staff, accommodating seasonal fluctuations, and relying on temporary workers to operate forklifts.

“Warehouses today are contending with record order volumes and limited access to labour, and need flexible solutions more than ever before,” said Stefan Nusser, Chief Product Officer at Fetch Robotics. “Our new case picking solution enables customers to achieve safer, more efficient case picking in facilities of all sizes.”

In a traditional case pick-to-pallet workflow, pickers spend the majority of their shifts driving a forklift or pulling a manual pallet jack around the warehouse to each location on their pick sheet or RF device. After arriving, the picker must manually find the correct product, execute the pick, return to the forklift or pallet jack, and travel to the next location until the entire pallet is complete. Although this model is widely used, it comes with extensive drawbacks. Often, it requires traveling long distances, minimising the actual time spent picking, and leading to congestion in warehouse aisles as multiple pickers are using the same routes.

The new case picking solution from Fetch and Körber enables zone-based picking, which keeps employees in aisles and enhances picking across numerous orders. This workflow leverages pick path optimisation functionality from the Körber WMS, which directs AMRs to the correct locations in the correct sequence for optimal pallet build. This solution can be deployed via RF scanners, voice picking, or along with vision-based picking solutions.

Moreover, it offers substantial safety benefits. Each year, over 11% of all forklifts are involved in an injury, and a single work site injury can cost facility owners an estimated US$150,000. Leveraging AMRs in a zone picking environment enables distribution centres to reduce reliance on manually operated forklifts, especially throughout congested areas. Hence, combining Fetch’s automated material handling capabilities with Körber’s WMS, facilities realise benefits almost immediately.

Although this new solution addresses case picking, Fetch’s AMRs can also be combined with Körber’s WMS to optimise discrete order picking, batch picking, and replenishment. Together, the companies also offer automated pallet-based workflows such as cross docking, putaway, replenishment, and returns. Fetch’s broad portfolio of AMRs can also be used to automate virtually any material movement, including recycling/trash removal, putaway, milk runs, urgent orders, and other tasks that require an associate to manually move material.

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