Vecna Robotics and GEODIS today announced that they have partnered to implement a unique autonomous solution at a GEODIS distribution center in Texas.
GEODIS is a supply chain operator with a direct presence in 67 countries and a global network spanning 120 countries. It is ranked No. 1 in France, No. 4 in Europe, and No. 7 worldwide. Last year, the company had more than 41,000 employees and €8.2 billion ($9.14 billion U.S.) in sales.
“The autonomous warehouse is a critical differentiator, and Vecna is thrilled to partner with GEODIS so they can offer world-class, autonomous logistics services to customers,” stated Matthew Cherewka, business development and solutions design manager at Vecna Robotics. “Our combined expertise in cutting-edge robotics and supply chain solutions allows this partnership to deliver significant advances in the supply chain industry.”
In April, Vecna Robotics partnered with Humatics Corp. for navigation capabilities, and last month, it teamed up with UniCarriers Americas Corp. on a line of autonomous material-handling vehicles.
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Pivot.al plays a key part
Vecna said its pivot.al orchestration system optimizes and organizes daily robot work orders. It allocates tasks to the appropriate vehicle based on priority, location, and availability. In addition, pivot.al applies machine learning algorithms and tracks the vehicles to provide data-driven insights, creating a continuous improvement cycle over time, said Vecna Robotics.
“Pivot.al analyzes the current state of operation and adjusts operational processes accordingly,” Cherewka told The Robot Report. “The technology is changing the way goods are transferred within a distribution center. It optimizes the operation, it’s a benefit to everyone, including workers who can spend less time walking the length of the distribution center and more time on tasks that only humans can perform.”
GEODIS deploys autonomous pallet jacks
Waltham, Mass.-based Vecna Robotics said its autonomous pallet jacks and pivot.al workflow-orchestration technology are automating the horizontal transport of pallets within a 150,000-sq.-ft. GEODIS distribution center in Dallas. This previously required human labor and manual trucks.
The install and integration took only three weeks, and Vecna’s robots have been running in the GEODIS distribution center since August.
GEODIS has deployed two self-driving pallet jacks, which pick up pallets from a staging area and independently deliver them to a human worker, who then uses a manual forklift to put the pallet away in the appropriate rack. To date, this pilot operation is expected to deliver a 33% increase in productivity by reducing the distance traveled by each operator.
“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,” said Kevin Stock, senior vice president of engineering at GEODIS. “Vecna’s technology and orchestration systems have proved very useful in this operation and we look forward to expanding our partnership.”
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