Bastian Solutions, the Indiana-based material handling systems integrator, will acquire Forte Engineering, an Illinois software firm that specializes in applications for liquor distribution, the firms announced Wednesday at ProMat. The combination could help Bastian, which has a long history in e-commerce fulfillment automation, develop a new expertise in wine and spirits distribution.
"The acquisition of the Forte Engineering team completes a highly strategic move," said Bastian president Aaron Jones. "The industry has been lacking this type of turnkey software package, and I could not be more exited to bring this solution to the market."
The new industry-specific product will combine Forte's wine and spirits-tailored warehouse execution system (WES) with Bastian's Exacta suite of real-time information systems, covering platforms from tablet and smartphone-based viewing to configurable reporting and Web-based interfaces.
Bastian also unveiled a goods-to-robot fulfillment system powered by a Fanuc M-20iA six-axis robot, a 3-D area sensor, and a custom-designed end-of-arm tool with a variety of suction-cup sizes for picking items of different weights. Integrated with an Autostore AS/RS and ZiPline conveyor, the combination forms a single-item picking system designed to meet e-commerce's need for speed.
Finally, Bastian showed off a wearable computing system that uses "smart glasses" to feed visual picking instructions to people by scanning the bar code on whatever item the wearer inspects. The glasses are made by Vuzix and powered by Bastian's software.