Robotic storage and fulfillment technology provider AutoStore has opened a test site in Norway that can replicate challenging supply chain environments from hot and cold weather to simulated earthquakes, the company said yesterday.
The “innovation hub” site is located in Karmøy, Norway, about 30 miles from the company’s headquarters in Nedre Vats, Norway. AutoStore plans to use the site to test the solutions it develops for its clients’ retail store and warehouse facilities, allowing it to provide faster fitting of automated systems to meet burgeoning order demand.
The new facility will also support rising industry demand for micro-fulfillment solutions, used by retailers to store dense inventory in automated systems located within stores. That approach allows companies to meet consumer expectations for fast order fulfillment far more quickly than they could with a traditional, regional distribution center, AutoStore said.
Inside its new test site, AutoStore can adjust environmental conditions to test how its robots perform in hot or cold conditions, how the oxygen level changes when goods are stacked within storage systems, or how the technology responds to potentially harmful situations like earthquakes.
“We identified the need to test solutions under a number of different situations, but we could not set up a test center for cold environments, one for heat, and at the same time one for a modern store solution, one for medical storage and so on. Therefore, we set up a center where we could simulate different situations and needs," AutoStore CEO Karl Johan Lier said in a release.
“Within the robotic technology industry, we do not have time to let the processes drag on. As a technology company, we must identify needs, and together with our partners and customers develop good solutions that can work immediately. We live in a time of exponential development in most areas, and then we must be able to develop solutions that are not outdated when they are used,” Lier said.