New Goods-to-Robot Systems Take E-Fulfillment to the Next Level

Over two decades ago, the internet made its way into households, retail, and manufacturing environments, providing a foundation for commerce to occur in a more rapid and convenient fashion.

In the early 2000s, ecommerce continued to grow into just about every type of vertical and market, shining a light on the value of speed, accuracy, and order customization. Excelling at those factors drives success.

In the past decade, order fulfillment lead times have become increasingly aggressive with suppliers promising as quick as 1-hour delivery or in-store pickup of goods.

As customers load their virtual shopping carts with an array of different items, optimizing the order fulfillment process is a priority for many organizations looking to be one step (or click) ahead of their competitors.

To meet the need for shorter time between order and delivery, packaging and material handling technology has rapidly evolved.

While present strategies such as warehouse execution systems, sortation, rainbow palletizing, and GTP (goods to person) systems have certainly helped meet these aggressive order fulfillment pursuits, a new robotic solution is proliferating the material handling industry that can further improve operations and customer satisfaction.

Order Fulfillment Optimization

Robotic AS/RS Integration

By integrating piece picking industrial robots to the back end of a AS/RS, experienced integrators can turn a GTP system into a highly efficient GTR (goods to robot) solution. This fully automated solution can help improve the speed and flexibility of custom order fulfillment while simultaneously reducing the amount of labor associated with order picking.

In today’s environment this allows end users to allocate their workforce to more value added services, and likely improve job satisfaction and retention.

Bin picking robots can autonomously pick items from donor bins with over 99.9% accuracy and place the ordered items into adjacent shipping cartons or downstream material handling equipment, such as unit sortation systems.  

Robotic bin picking applications generally involve the following components:

  • 6-axis robotic arm
  • Custom robot EoAT (end of arm tool)
  • AI powered machine vision
  • Integration with the WES (warehouse execution system

A Comprehensive, Intelligent Solution

Unlike traditional industrial robotic applications, these bin picking robots aren’t trained to do a singular task with set inputs and outputs. Thanks to AI vision, the robots can problem solve for an infinite amount of new and complex situations, like new SKU integration, with no training required. When an inventory bin is presented to the AI powered vision system, a photo is taken to map out the objects’ orientations.

Within a split second, AI vision identifies the “most pickable” object and releases the robot to pick it. Robotic controls manipulate the arm and EoAT inside the tote while using suction or a gripping technology to pick the targeted object without encroaching on other objects or the tote walls. The robot then retracts from the bin and places the object in a secondary shipping carton and is ready for another pick-and-place sequence.

With nearly infinite variability in SKU geometry, orientation, graphics, etc. the AI vision system learns and improves on every single cycle. To multiply that affect, all robots that are connected to the AI platform benefit from the learnings of the other robots.  Therefore, as the fleet of robots increase in size, the learnings and performance of the AI and the robots accelerate, giving the end user a higher return for their investment.

AI Powered Robotic Applications

AI enabled robots have applications reaching far beyond just order fulfillment. The ability to autonomously pick and place can help improve operations in some of the following areas:

  • Singulation of product to be placed on to an item sorter or a simple take away conveyor
  • Robotic sortation (robotic put wall)
  • Robotic depalletization of single SKU and completely mixed pallets

More Than Just Robots, A Solution Partner

Putting yourself on the leading edge of fully automated order fulfillment requires more than simply adding robots to your warehouse. A one-size-fits all approach to integration can lead to slow and ineffective systems.

As a stand-alone solution, these each picking robots can add value to your order picking process. However, further integration into the WES, like Bastian’s Exacta® software solution, will allow you to maximize the value of the robotic automation by directing individual products to the areas that process them in the most efficient manner.

As an independent integrator, Bastian Solutions has the experience needed to seamlessly integrate AI-powered robotic systems with your current equipment and software to ensure optimal results.

Related Resource

Download the Paper

Robotic Piece Picking Solutions
Transform warehouse operations to achieve smarter, more accurate, 24/7 order fulfillment with piece picking robotic solutions carefully integrated to support existing workflows and flexible enough to easily grow for future business volume, products, seasonality and new functions. Download Now!

Article Topics

Bastian Solutions News & Resources

Depalletizing and palletizing gain in flexibility
Bastian Solutions CB18 AGF: Smart, Efficient Manufacturing and Distribution Material Handling – no Operators Needed
Bastian Solutions reveals automated guided forklift
Bastian Solutions SmartPick™: Reimagine Order Fulfillment with Artificial Intelligence
Bastian Solutions unveils plans for new corporate campus in Noblesville, Indiana
MHI announces winners of 2022 YPN Awards
C-Suite Pack Expo Interview: Matt Kohler, Sales Manager at Bastian Solutions
More Bastian Solutions

Latest in Transportation

Artificial Intelligence to Drive M&A Activity in Supply Chain
US Container Traffic Boosted by Back-to-School Rush
No Surcharge for Holiday Packages, USPS says
Port Everglades: Expansion and Sustainability Efforts for the Future
Moody’s: Carbon Offsets Open Supply Chains Up to Financial, Reputational Risks
Shippers Focus on Yield Management as Rates Continue to Rise
ASCM Releases Top 10 Supply Chain Trends for 2024
More Transportation
Over two decades ago, the internet made its way into households, retail, and manufacturing environments, providing a foundation for commerce to occur in a more rapid and convenient fashion.
Over two decades ago, the internet made its way into households, retail, and manufacturing environments, providing a foundation for commerce to occur in a more rapid and convenient fashion.

Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics company, is a trusted supply chain integration partner committed to providing their clients a competitive advantage by designing and delivering world-class distribution and production solutions.

View Bastian Solutions company profile


Featured Downloads

Becoming a Shipper of Choice
Becoming a Shipper of Choice
C3 solutions' scheduling software streamlines the shipping process.
Thinking Differently About Supply Chain Planning
Thinking Differently About Supply Chain Planning
Political landscapes shift overnight, global trade is constantly changing, consumers demand increasingly personalized service and smaller day-to-day challenges hit without warning. If...

Rapidly Improve the Performance of Your Warehouse Logistics
Rapidly Improve the Performance of Your Warehouse Logistics
The Rapid Performance Evaluation identifies opportunities and potential improvements in every aspect of warehouse logistics operations; performance, productivity, service, quality, and systems.
Resource Management System (RMS): How to Effectively Leverage Your Assets
Resource Management System (RMS): How to Effectively Leverage Your Assets
This guide provides an in-depth analysis of the potential of various resources available in a warehouse and how they can be utilized...
Sustainable Supply Chain Insights From PITT OHIO
Sustainable Supply Chain Insights From PITT OHIO
A whitepaper on supply chain insights gleaned at the LEED-certified gold Cleveland transportation and sustainability summit.