April 9, 2019

Swisslog leverages machine learning for single-item picking

Redesigned ItemPiQ is versatile and can pick up to 1,000 items per hour, company says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Swisslog is making it easier to apply robotics to single-item picking applications. The logistics automation provider showcased its redesigned ItemPiQ solution during ProMat 2019, highlighting the benefits of machine learning and advanced robotics for the warehouse and distribution center.

ItemPiQ is a fully automated picking solution that combines a Swisslog gripper system with new technology that can pick up to 1,000 items per hour, the company said. Driven by the latest version of Kuka Robotics' Kuka KR Agilus-2, the six-axis lightweight robot has an arm that extends up to 43 inches to reach into bins containing single items. It also incorporates a vision system that features a 3-D camera and smart image-recognition software that tells the robot how to best grip the items to be picked. Machine-learning capabilities allow the robot to quickly adapt to the array of products being picked, making it ideal for retail and e-commerce applications, the company said.

"Picking is one of the most time- and cost-intensive processes in internal logistics. Picking and packing can account for nearly 50 percent of all logistics costs in industrial and commercial logistics and distribution centers," said Markus Schmidt, president, Swisslog Logistics Automation, Americas. "ItemPiQ helps cut these costs permanently while helping alleviate labor shortages. This advanced version of the technology works faster, smarter, and with higher precision, while offering a very simple user interface. Best of all, the array of products to be picked can change continuously, making ItemPiQ exceptionally easy to implement and maintain."

ItemPiQ can also be linked to the AutoStore warehouse storage and picking system via the standard ItemPiQBox interface, the company said.

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