Not all sorting centers handle the high volume of parcels necessary to justify investment in traditional, automatic sorting systems. So how can new technology help these operations boost efficiency?
A large international logistics company that faced this dilemma provides a good example. It has multiple, small, regional sorting centers each of which typically employs ten staff to manually sort around 600 parcels to 65 destinations.
The client asked us to come up with a solution to improve the efficiency in their sorting centers but at a reasonable price. We proposed our autonomous sorting solution. Since the volumes were not too big, the distances between incoming and outgoing containers was not too long and a high number of destinations, this was an ideal use case for our autonomous sorting solution.
The process started with creating concept drawings of how the layout could look like in their sorting center.
Implementation and Challenges
After the client gave his approval to implement the autonomous sorting solution, we had to figure out how we could install due to the current Covid travel restrictions. Our engineers travelled to the installation site but had to stay in quarantine for 10 days before they could start working on the implementation. Prior to the installation at the main site we made a test setup in another location for the client to see how efficient the autonomous sorting robots perform the sorting process. The client liked and approved the test setup and we went on to install the autonomous sorting solution at the main location, all with the help of a local agent. Even with the mandatory 10 day quarantine for our robotics engineers we managed to complete the installation within a few weeks.
The efficiency of the clients sorting location has improved significantly. Previously, one worker could sort 60 parcels per hour and 10 workers were needed to sort 600 parcels per hour. With the autonomous sorting solution 1 worker and 10 robots can sort up to 600 parcels per hour. The worker now only needs to scan a parcel and place it on top of the robot. The robot then transports the parcel to the destination, where it is automatically dropped in the destination container. The robots work 24/7 and never get ill.
Our customer is very enthusiastic about the flexibility and scalability of the autonomous sorting solution and the flexibility and knowledge of our robotics engineers.
The Autonomous Sorting solution has many benefits for every logistics company. First of all the solution can be acquired with a low investment and the ongoing costs are very limited.
The solution has a short time to implement. Even with Covid travel restrictions and quarantine period of 10 days, our robotics engineers finished the job within a few weeks.
Autonomous sorting is flexible and easily scalable. The robots learn the floor once and when more capacity is needed it is just a matter of adding more robots. The robots can also be deployed at other locations as soon as they “learn” the floor space of a location. Destinations can be easily added to the system and in the event a robot fails it can be easily replaced with another robot. This guarantees the continuity of the sorting process and makes it the ideal solution for any logistics company that still depends on manual sorting.
Many logistics companies are still working with inefficient, manual sorting systems. With a small investment and within a short time frame, these companies can make their systems much more efficient. Our client is very satisfied with the improved results from our autonomous sorting solution and is interested in expanding the number of robots and also implementing the solution at the other locations.
In addition the client has shown interest in another easy to install solution for manual handling. The Handling Projector, a scalable solution with a short implementation time which improves the efficiency of the manual sorting process.