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The Robots are Ready for Work

It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece picking can get the job done in the right application.

By ·

Up on a 19,000 square foot mezzanine in a distribution center in western N.Y., order selectors at either end of a pick module are directed by voice as they walk through their zones, picking slow-moving SKUs.

There’s nothing special about that process at the Rochester Drug Cooperative, which goes to market as RDC. It’s the kind of piece picking solution you see in distribution centers every day. But in the middle of the pick module, something different is happening. Cleverly dubbed Adam because it’s a first of its kind, a mobile piece picking robot from IAM Robotics, a Pittsburgh-based startup, picks from 1,200 SKUs stored on static shelves in a four-aisle pick zone.

When a shipping tote representing a store order for one of RDC’s independent pharmacy members is conveyed into the robot’s work zone, Mike Collins, the robot operator, scans a bar code to send picking instructions to Adam. The robot then travels autonomously through the zone, utilizing an arm with a suction cup to pick items to a tote. When the order has been picked complete, the robot travels back to Collins. He scans the items into the shipping container, pushes it onto a takeaway conveyor and scans the next shipping tote to initiate the next order. Asked whether the robot is accurate

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By ·

Up on a 19,000 square foot mezzanine in a distribution center in western N.Y., order selectors at either end of a pick module are directed by voice as they walk through their zones, picking slow-moving SKUs.

There’s nothing special about that process at the Rochester Drug Cooperative, which goes to market as RDC. It’s the kind of piece picking solution you see in distribution centers every day. But in the middle of the pick module, something different is happening. Cleverly dubbed Adam because it’s a first of its kind, a mobile piece picking robot from IAM Robotics, a Pittsburgh-based startup, picks from 1,200 SKUs stored on static shelves in a four-aisle pick zone.

When a shipping tote representing a store order for one of RDC’s independent pharmacy members is conveyed into the robot’s work zone, Mike Collins, the robot operator, scans a bar code to send picking instructions to Adam. The robot then travels autonomously through the zone, utilizing an arm with a suction cup to pick items to a tote. When the order has been picked complete, the robot travels back to Collins. He scans the items into the shipping container, pushes it onto a takeaway conveyor and scans the next shipping tote to initiate the next order. Asked whether the robot is accurate

 


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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Article Topics

Inventory · Robotics · All Topics
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