Autonomous material handling provider Vecna Robotics has implemented a pilot operation that autonomously moves inbound pallets through a distribution center operated by French logistics giant Geodis Group, the firms said Thursday.
The system uses robots and workflow technology from Waltham, Massachusetts-based Vecna to automate the horizontal transportation of pallets from a staging area to put-away storage within a 150,000 square foot DC in Dallas.
Geodis had previously moved the goods by deploying human labor and manual trucks to pick up, deliver, and put away the pallets. But the pilot operation is expected to produce a 33% increase in productivity by reducing the distance traveled by each operator.
In the new workflow, Geodis has deployed two self-driving pallet jacks driven by Vecna's autonomous technology, which deliver pallets to a Geodis team member who then uses a manual forklift to put them away in the appropriate rack. That system is governed by Vecna's "pivot.al" orchestration system, which optimizes daily robot work orders, allocating the work to the most appropriate vehicle based on priority, location, and availability.
"Innovation and introducing new technology into our operations is a strategic focus area at Geodis," Kevin Stock, senior vice president of engineering at Geodis, said in a release. "Vecna's offering allows us to enhance the work experience for our teammates by placing their work where they need it to operate more efficiently."
The pilot program is the latest move by Vecna to ramp up production of its warehouse robotics techology, following its unveiling in September of a new headquarters in Massachusetts, where it plans to advance development of automated vehicles including a tugger platform, pallet jack, and tote retrieval system.
We have some exciting news to share ????— Vecna Robotics (@VecnaRobotics) October 31, 2019
We partnered with @GEODIS_Group to implement our autonomous solutions at their distribution center in Texas. Read more in @therobotreport: https://t.co/MwKrJQHjr7