ATLANTA – Fetch Robotics and Zebra Technologies today announced a collaboration to help automate picking processes through the integration of Fetch’s autonomous mobile robots and Zebra’s FulfillmentEdge software. The two companies will demonstrate the system at this week’s MODEX 2020 event in the Fetch booth, #9011.
The system optimizes picking across multiple orders for piece, case, and pallet workflows, Fetch said. The dynamic optimization and orchestration of movement of warehouse workers and robots will “enable collaborative picking for faster, more accurate fulfillment and improved workflows that allow workers to spend more time in the aisle instead of manually moving material throughout a facility,” the companies said in a statement.
Optimizing pick paths
With the solution, workers are collaboratively dispatched in optimized pick paths across multiple orders, turning manual material movement into more productive picking time. Worker and AMR movements are orchestrated for picking operations, but can also include other tasks, such as replenishment, into the flow to help leverage workers’ time in the aisles, the companies said. The FulfillmentEdge software can also direct Fetch robots to other non-picking operations, such as recycling materials removal, reverse logistics and restocking of packing station, to help maximize robot utilization. The system also aims to make it easier to train workers for new workflows, reducing training and on-boarding time up to 90%, the companies said.
“By integrating Fetch AMRs with Zebra FulfillmentEdge and the optional enterprise-class HD4000 head-mounted display, we have created a solution for companies to modernize their picking operations without having to upgrade their warehouse management system or make changes to their facilities,” said Stefan Nusser, vice president of products at Fetch Robotics. “This combined solution enables companies to increase revenue by directing workers to high-value activity, reduce unproductive material movement and dwell time, and improve efficiency across piece, case, and pallet picking operations.”
The Zebra FulfillmentEdge software uses multiple sources of data, including a customer’s warehouse management system and other back-end systems, contextual and mobile device data to direct and synchronize the actions of multiple workers and Fetch AMRs for collaborative picking assignments. The process is streamlined with visual cues presented in a graphical and numerical overlay in the HD4000 head-mounted display, providing workers with information that includes item location, pick total, directional prompts and cues that show where to place the right quantities for each customer order on the Fetch AMR cart.
“Warehouse operations leaders need to synchronize their WMS, worker, and workflow optimization solutions and new automation deployments to maximize return on investment and minimize risks to supply chain operations,” said Joe White, senior vice president of enterprise mobile computing at Zebra Technologies. “Combining Zebra FulfillmentEdge with Fetch’s broad portfolio of AMRs empowers our joint customers to modernize their warehousing, distribution and fulfillment operations by optimizing the performance of front-line workers alongside AMRs.
Fetch has been busy with additional product announcements in recent weeks. Last week, the company announced its CartConnect500, an addition to its CartConnect line of AMRs. The new model features the Freight500 robot base with attached lift module that picks up a FetchCart, specifically designed for the CartConnect500. The robot can also transport any given cart that meets Fetch specifications, allowing customers to utilize any existing carts they may have in a facility. The new system can also be managed with the company’s FetchCore cloud-based software.
Earlier this month, Fetch launched its Workflow Builder tool kit, which allows customers to design, implement, and redesign their own workflows for Fetch AMRs. Based on Blockly programming, the Workflow Builder software features a drag-and-drop interface that will allow customers to deploy flexible automation in days, doing all the work in-house without the need to rely on third-party integrators.