Thursday 27th Feb 2020 - Logistics Manager Magazine

Supply Chain Excellence Awards 2019: The XPO Logistics Award for Robotics Innovation

Robotics is having a profound impact on warehouse operations and the Awards judges are keen to identify and recognise significant innovations in this rapidly advancing field. The two front-runners for this category were Magazino and Yunji Technology with Beijing Geekplus Technology.

Magazino is a Munich based manufacturer of intelligent, mobile robots that perceive their environment and make their own decisions. The company’s mobile picking robot ‘Toru’ goes beyond the traditional confines of the AGV market, where goods are simply fetched by container or pallet load, as here the robot can autonomously transport individual items and pick and stow them in shelves. Widely seen automated goods-to-person systems improve warehouse performance, but in most instances people are still doing the picking. Instead of bringing the goods to the person, the Toru autonomously travels to the shelf and automatically picks the required item. In particular, the judges were intrigued by the way the robot was able to respond to a dynamic environment in real-time, reacting to unforeseen events. They also liked how it uses 2D and 3D cameras to identify items to pick. This was all very impressive, but the judges wanted to hear details of a specific application.

Yumji Technology with beijing Geekplus Technology win the XPO Logistics Award for Robotics Innovation

Yunji Technology is a fast-growing social e-commerce platform that provides individual retailers with services such as merchandise, logistics, IT, marketing and promotion. After just two years of development, the business has helped more than four million people start a social retailing business and now, daily sales volumes can be up to RMB 278 million. With such high volumes and the need for flexibility and responsiveness, the company has been working with Geekplus to reduce pain points within their Kunshan warehousing and logistics operation by using robotics technology. The Geekplus autonomous goods-to-person system has resulted in picking performance at each workstation reaching 400 pieces/hour, which is equivalent to three times that of a manual picking operation. Now only 96 people work in the warehouse, saving 70% of manual labour cost.

The judges were interested to see the performance improvements and were impressed by the flexibility of the solution, where 150 to 300 robots can be called into service as order volumes dictate. The winning entry was Yunji Technology with Beijing Geekplus Technology.

Simon Houghton, senior sales and marketing manager, UK and Ireland, Geek+, said: “This award is really good for us, especially as we’re still quite a new company. In the UK we’ve only really been focused on the market here for the last few months, so it’s great exposure and great to receive recognition here so quickly. Our technology is quite disruptive to the traditional sector, which is why we’re making a lot of noise in the industry with great solutions.”

Also Shortlisted: Magazino; Shell Aviation with UVair

The 24th Supply Chain Excellence Awards will take place on 12 November 2020. The awards are a celebration of all things supply chain and all entrants are put through their paces – including presenting to a panel of their peers – to ensure only the best win the coveted award.

For more information, including how to enter and sponsorship opportunities, and to register your interest go to: Supplychainexcellenceawards.com