Arvato is increasing the targeted use of robots in its logistics centres. After the successful implementation of several robot-assisted palletizing and depalletizing applications at various locations, the supply chain and e-commerce service provider now has decided to use the robot item pick solution “justPick” from the Polish robot specialist Nomagic as the next step in its holistic automation strategy.
At its location in Dortmund, Germany, Arvato operates a 30,000 square meter distribution center for several fashion clients. As part of the “Autostore Port Picking” (ASPP) pilot project, Nomagic’s “justPick” robot will be used to pick individual item orders from the fully automated Autostore warehouse. It is planned that after the successful piloting, other robots will follow and pick at the Autostore system in Dortmund. Arvato currently operates ten Autostore systems worldwide and therefore sees great potential for further scaling of the robot solution. Further applications at shuttle storage workstations and for pocket sorter loading are also being planned.
“The autonomous robot system enables us to respond more flexibly and with shorter throughput times to our customers’ requirements by continuously processing customer orders – especially during late and night shifts,” says Axel Mayer, President Lifestyle Fashion & Sports at Arvato. At the Dortmund site, Arvato is taking a further step on the way to a fully automated order fulfillment process with the automatic provision of goods by the Autostore system and automatic picking by the robot. “Nomagic was the only supplier that was able to map both the pick process for order fulfillment and the returns replenishment process without changing the existing infrastructure,” explains Christoph Echelmeyer, Vice President Operations and Head of the site. With the “justPick” robot, not only are customers’ orders fulfilled, but the Autostore system is also replenished.
As far as possible, Arvato does not design all automation solutions, whether robotics, goods 2-person, AGVs or packaging solutions, as a stand-alone solution, but always in the context of its own “Warehouse Automation Toolbox (WAT)”. “We attach great importance to solutions with a high degree of modularity and flexibility. This approach is also driven by our high level of diversification and positioning in a wide variety of business areas such as high-tech, healthcare and consumer products with their large number of different articles. From our point of view, Nomagic’s “justPick” solution makes a special contribution to these points,” explains Markus Billmann, Senior Expert Process Automation and Future Warehouse Team at Arvato. Nomagic was able to convince Arvato with a large number of systems that have already been implemented, which are very close to the use case of the pilot project and the subsequent projects.
The “justPick” robot is equipped with a gripper tool changer, which enables the independent change of different suction and gripping tools during the container change at the carousel port of the Autostore system. On the one hand, this increases the possible throughput of the system, as downtime or idle times are effectively minimized, and on the other hand, it increases the number of tangible items on the hardware side, which has a positive effect on the future-proofing and scaling of the system in terms of third-party usability. Markus Billmann: “This flexibility is enormously important to us in the dynamic environment in which we operate as a 3PL service provider.”