The colossal package sorting facility launched by e-commerce powerhouse JD.com last week in China uses an array of automation technology ranging from basic conveyors and cross-belt sorters to the latest autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), the company said today.
JD.com opened the 5.4 million square foot site in advance of its mid-June 618 promotional sale, saying the “Kunshan Asia No.1 Intelligent Logistics Park” was capable of sorting 4.5 million parcels per day. However, the original announcement was shy on details on exactly how it did that, saying only that it relied on more than 80 sorting lines and a fleet of 10,000 intelligent sorting robots.
Now the company has now offered additional particulars on how it works, and posted a promotional video of the material handling automation inside the building.
Before the latest expansion, “Phase 1” of the facility used a 23,000-foot conveyor system, a double-layer cross belt automatic sorting system with a total length of 3,600 feet, and China’s largest intelligent book warehouse equipped with five giant six-axis robotic arms, a spokesman for JD.com said. That site mainly handled categories such as books and audio-visual products, personal care and cleaning products, leisure food, milk and beverages, and small home appliances.
The recent “Phase 2” addition is JD Logistics' first four-story ramp warehouse, and mainly stocks personal care and cleaning products, maternal and baby products, grains and cooking oils, and apparel.
According to the JD.com spokesman, the new facility uses intelligent hardware equipment such as AMR handling robots and container picking robots which can automatically move goods. For apparel products, JD has applied a self-developed “automated storage production and management system,” which has transformed traditional manual static picking tasks into fully automatic dynamic task assignments, greatly reducing the walking distance of the pickers and increasing picking efficiency by more than three times. In addition, the container transport unit (CTU) robot system is used in the nutrition products area, allowing warehouse employees to wait in designated working stations while the CTUs pick up and drop off goods.