WALTHAM, Mass. — 6 River Systems today announced general availability of Mobile Sort, a new system to enable warehouse operators to intelligently generate and fulfill batched orders using its robots, mobile sort stations, and cloud-based software enhanced with machine learning. The company will debut Mobile Sort on April 8 at ProMat 2019.
E-commerce and retail sales continue to grow each year, yet warehouse operators struggle to find and recruit enough warehouse associates to keep up with the work. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that U.S. warehouses need to hire an additional 452,000 workers between 2018 and 2019 amid record-low unemployment nationwide, just to meet the growing demand. Mobile Sort is designed to help operators rise to meet peak demands and challenges.
“Each-picking operations are under bigger-than-ever market pressure to pick faster and scale for peak seasons with fewer seasonal hires,” said Jerome Dubois, 6 River Systems (6RS) co-founder and co-CEO. “6 River Systems’ Mobile Sort improves throughput with a picking and sorting solution that is mobile and flexible, helping operators who are crunched for time, capital, and resources balance performance and cycle times.”
How Mobile Sort works
Mobile Sort stations consist of smart kiosks — mobile put-to-light walls with validation sensors that work with 6RS’ cloud-based software and 6RS collaborative robots, called “Chucks.” 6RS said its intelligent allocation engine continuously generates highly optimized batches of work which group orders into the most efficient picking jobs, minimizing walking.
Chuck robots deliver empty totes to associates in active picking areas and direct associates to complete picks. Totes are then delivered to take-off points, where they are sorted into orders using the Mobile Sort stations.
Equipped with product images and put lights, Mobile Sort stations further assist associates to sort items into customer orders at industry-leading speed and accuracy. The entire system, from robots to sortation and pack-out stations, is powered by 6RS’s machine learning and is intended to drive efficient picking and system performance.
Not only can Mobile Sort improve pick rates, but it can also be used to consolidate picks across different areas or automation into discrete orders, said the company. For example, it can consolidate picks across mezzanine levels or from goods-to-person automation solutions.
“Mobile Sort is quick to setup and break down, and doesn’t require any permanent infrastructure,” said Gillan Hawkes, vice president of product at 6RS. “Unlike traditional automation, Mobile Sort can be easily scaled up or down to handle seasonality and to reclaim precious floor space.”
With the addition of Mobile Sort, 6RS claimed that its products can extend value for customers, from collaborative mobile robots, to order allocation, picking, sorting and pack-out. They address existing gaps in the market today, specifically for third-party logistics, business-to-business, fast-growing e-commerce, and omni-channel retail operations, the company said.
“Autonomous mobile robots have done a great job of attacking the low-hanging fruit in fulfillment processes — movement of material” said John Santagate, research director for commercial service robotics at IDC. “As the innovative vendors in this space have begun to scale deployments, they are now also developing complementary products that extend the value of the AMRs [autonomous mobile robots] in the fulfillment process. Mobile Sort from 6 River Systems is a good example of an AMR vendor extending the capabilities and value of their products and offerings”.
The Mobile Sort solution will be deployed across leading third-party logistics (3PLs) and retail warehouse operations in time for peak 2019. 6RS will be conducting demonstrations of Mobile Sort from April 8-11 at ProMat at Booth S3983.
About 6 River Systems
6 River Systems was founded in Boston in 2015 by Jerome Dubois, Rylan Hamilton, and Chris Cacioppo. Dubois and Hamilton were previously executives at Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics). The 6 River Systems engineering team has decades of automation, software, and operations experience and has designed, built, and deployed some of the world’s largest warehouse automation solutions. Leading 3PLs, retailers, and manufacturers, including DHL, XPO Logistics, and Office Depot, are using 6RS to fulfill millions of units per week.
6 River Systems is supported by venture capital firms and strategic investors, including Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Eclipse and iRobot. Amy Villeneuve, former president and chief operating officer of Kiva Systems, is a member of the board.