May 4, 2018

Robots set record for autonomous piece picking

RightHand Robotics says machines "picked and placed" 131,072 items during the Modex show in April.

By DC Velocity Staff

A world record was set at last month's Modex 2018 trade show in Atlanta. And though show attendees may be surprised to hear it, that record had nothing to do with the total number of free pens and foam balls handed out by exhibitors. It involved something even more arcane: the number of automated piece picks performed at a trade show.

In mid-April, RightHand Robotics, a developer of software and intelligent gripping devices, announced that robot workcells equipped with a partner company's piece-picking arms had successfully picked and placed 131,072 items over the duration of the show. The company says this is a world record (although famed record-keeping publisher Guinness was not on hand to corroborate the claim).

Working in conjunction with several partners, the Somerville, Mass.-based company deployed its RightPick workcells in five exhibitor booths at the show, running them throughout the event to demonstrate their value in e-commerce fulfillment. RightHand engineers integrated the company's robotic hand with collaborative robots from Universal Robots, which were in turn linked with sortation systems, automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), and mobile robots from a number of partner companies. RightHand reports that in some applications, the work cells were able to pick and place up to 1,000 units per hour, including products the system had never seen before.

"We wanted to set a benchmark for piece-picking performance, and the show was a fantastic opportunity for it," RightHand Robotics co-founder Yaro Tenzer said in a statement. "We are grateful to our partners—Eurosort, Vecna Robotics, White Systems, and Universal Robots—for helping us establish this record."

Related story: "RightHand and Vecna offer combined piece-picking and mobile robots"

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