The majority of the projects that we do and that we have written about in this blog deal with pickers walking to the product to pick.
Many large distribution warehouses have begun using goods-to-man order picking where the product is actually delivered to the stationary picking employee to be picked.
One of our customers is a large online fulfillment center who employs goods-to-person order picking. This customer deals almost exclusively with each picks, as customers go to their website and buy single items. In order to cut down on the travel time that would be involved with traditional order picking, this customer has automated that process using robots to deliver the goods to the picker. The picker then picks the correct item, turns around to pack it, and by the time they have finished packing and turn around to pick the next item, the robot has disappeared and been replaced by a new robot. This robot carrying a new shelf with the next item to be picked, and the process repeats itself. It’s an incredibly efficient system and one that not only cuts travel down 100-percent, but also reduces the risk of mis-picks.
UNEX’s role in this system is the specially built shelving and carton flow units that our engineers designed to be picked up by these robots and safely transported to the picker. Like any other project, we do a throughput analysis on the products that are being sold to determine the correct type of storage. Slow movers can be stored on traditional shelving while medium movers are stored on carton flow.
The challenge our designers faced was building a portable system that is free-standing when not being transported and also light enough to be able to be transported by the robots when it is fully-stocked. The systems are built with a platform under the rack that allows the robots to slide underneath and pickup the rack system and transport to the picker.
Does your operation use a robotic goods-to-person model? If so, contact a UNEX Pickologist today to discuss your storage needs.