Warehouse robotics provider GreyOrange said Tuesday it has opened a U.S headquarters in Atlanta, with a staff of 50 employees to be lead by former Honeywell Intelligrated executive Chris Barber, and plans to complete a local manufacturing facility in this country by 2019.
Singapore-based GreyOrange said it will deploy 740 robots at an unnamed client site in Atlanta, and plans to deploy an additional 20,000 robots in the U.S. in the next three years for e-commerce and omnichannel retail firms and third party logistics providers (3PLs).
GreyOrange's products include Butler, a goods-to-person robot for inventory storage, picking, and order consolidation, and Linear Sorter, a modular system for automating sorting processes.
In an additional expansion of its U.S. presence, GreyOrange said it is also opening a research and development center in Boston, where it will hire more than 60 engineers to research artificial intelligence (AI), human-machine interface (HMI), machine vision, and data intelligence. The Boston technology development center will complement the company's current global team of 250 R&D engineers dedicated to robotic logistics, the company said.
By hiring Barber as its regional CEO for North America, GreyOrange said it plans to take advantage of his previous experience in supply chain and warehouse automation solutions as vice president for southern operations with Honeywell Intelligrated. Barber will now oversee GreyOrange's expansion starting with the U.S., bringing supply chain innovation and AI-powered solutions to customers in the e-commerce, retail, and logistics sectors, the company said.
"With our expansion into the U.S. and Chris Barber as our regional CEO, we will transform warehouse processes and efficiency and enhance employee engagement and retention, bringing it on par with tech jobs," GreyOrange CEO and Co-Founder Samay Kohli (seated) said in a statement. "Embracing robots, who work hand-in-hand with humans, enables our customers to boost overall productivity, minimize inventory waste, increase consumer choice, and improve their company's bottom line."
Specifically, GreyOrange says its intent is to automate the delivery process from warehouse to customer, reducing 10 to 15 percent of supply chain inventory in transit, this allowing companies to run their supply chains more efficiently. Workplace robots also have the potential to increase worker safety and allow people in the supply chain industry to do more meaningful work with support from their robotic companions, the firm said.
While the fulfillment automation space already includes a wide variety of robot vendors—such as Locus Robotics Inc., 6 River Systems Inc., Fetch Robotics Inc., inVia Robotics Inc., Vecna Robotics, and others—there is plenty of opportunity for another vendor, said John Santagate, research director, Commercial Service Robotics at IDC Manufacturing Insights, an analyst group based in Framingham, Mass.
"There is a role for all of these approaches in the market. Every facility and buyer has a different set of requirements and constraints and there is a space for them all," he said. "In all likelihood, we will start to see more facilities configuring their spaces to work with different robotics vendors and building their processes to best fit their requirements and using different robots in different sections of their warehouse."
GreyOrange has been growing rapidly in other markets, carving out a strong market share for itself first in the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region and, more recently, Germany, he said. "I think the move from these guys to North America was something to be expected. They have been making noise in other markets, but the U.S. represents a massive market for ecommerce and order fulfillment," said Santagate.