Collaborative robot automates small-item picking at Swisslog
Swisslog (Booth S2012) showcased multiple solutions, including its Automated Item Pick (AIP) robotic solution that can pick small items for e-commerce fulfillment.
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Swisslog worked closely with parent company KUKA to develop the AIP solution, working jointly on the gripper attachment and vision technology for the solution so that the AIP’s gripper unit can spot, pick and handle a variety of items, explained Markus Schmidt, president of Swisslog Warehouse & Distribution Solutions (WDS) Americas. KUKA makes the lightweight collaborative robotic arm for the AIP solution. “The more items a gripper can cope with, the better when it comes to e-commerce, because there is such a wide variety of items to deal with,” said Schmidt.
The AIP robot can work safely side-by-side with humans, because it can sense when it comes in contact with a human, and immediately stop moving. For maximum efficiency, an AIP workstation can be paired with Swisslog’s goods-to-person solutions to move goods into place for picking.
Also being demonstrated at the booth is Swisslog’s virtual reality (VR)-based solution that lets people see a detailed, 3D view of what their automated materials handling systems will look like and how they will perform under specific order profiles. The demo makes use of HTC VR glasses, but the software enabling it is part of Swisslog’s SynQ software platform.
Roberto Michel, an editor at large for Modern Materials Handling (MMH), has covered manufacturing and supply chain management trends since 1986, mainly as a former staff editor and former contributor at Manufacturing Business Technology. He has been a contributor to MMH since 2004. He has worked on numerous show dailies, including at ProMat, the North American Material Handling Logistics show, and National Manufacturing Week. He can be reached at [email protected]