Back at ProMat 2007, small crowds gathered around the booths of Kiva Systems, Seegrid and RMT Robotics even though all three had relatively inconspicuous booths. The crowds gathered because each supplier was demonstrating something new: small mobile units that ran around the limited floor space.
Although Kiva displayed an integrated picking solution that included portable storage units, most people didn’t quite know what to do with these gizmos.
They didn’t look like traditional robots since they didn’t have arms. But they were also smaller than a traditional automated guided vehicles (AGV) and used different guidance systems.
What they did have was pizzazz. The technology they previewed has since become known as mobile robotics: autonomous vehicles that can shuttle materials around a factory or distribution center. Of course, the materials handling industry is replete with cool technologies that never made it from the exhibition hall to the distribution center floor. Since then, however, the Kiva (781-221-4640) goods-to-person picking solution has found a home in a number of high-profile warehouses, including the Office Depot facility on this month’s cover (see page 20). In addition, Seegrid’s (877-733-4743) riderless vehicles are being used by a leading grocer to deliver pallets to the shipping dock so that pickers can remain in the aisle doing more valuable tasks. And, RMT’s (905-643-9700) technology is being used to deliver small quantities of parts to the line in lean, just-in-time manufacturing environments.
About the Author
Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.
Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine
Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today
Located in the city of Jundiai, in the state of São Paulo, the plant has been configured for the assembly of selected automatic data capture product lines.
Gor the first half of 2014, NRF said that retail sales were up just 2.9 percent compared to the first six months of 2013, with sales through the end of the year expected to be up 3.9 percent annually.
Quarterly Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing Forecast (MHEM) indicates growth on horizon for industry.
Xtreme RFID manufactures rugged RFID tags that fully encapsulate RFID inlays in a one piece plastic housing to protect it from chemicals, water, impact, temperatures, and other unforgiving elements.
For companies large and small, an often overlooked key to handling sales growth in their DC is having the right picking strategies and technologies. Your current facility can do more than you think -- you just need to take a hard look at your current equipment and processes to maximize productivity with improved strategies or advanced technologies.