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DHL Reports Successful Robot Sorting Pilot in Atlanta Warehouse

DHL DoraSorter400x275

May 9, 2022

DHL eCommerce Solutions has announced it conducted a successful one-year pilot of two DoraSorter robotic systems at its Atlanta distribution center. The robotic sortation systems are one of the projects that are part of DHL’s $100 million, five-year automation investment plan.

The company partnered with Dorabot, an AI-powered robotic solutions provider for logistics, e-commerce, supply chain, consumer goods and other industries. Two configurations were used – Sort-to-Bag and Sort-to-Gaylord, which were each capable of sorting more than 1,000 parcels and packages per hour weighing up to 15 lbs with a near zero error rate, DHL said. The DoraSorters are equipped with 3D and barcode cameras to scan a package, informing the robotic arm about the package’s location and which bag or container to place the item.

“With a near zero error rate and packages sorted on average in 3.6 seconds, our robotic arm pilot at DHL eCommerce Solutions has increased our efficiency, speed and streamlined our processes,” said Scott Ashbaugh, vice president of operations at DHL. “It has also allowed our employees to focus on other non-repetitive tasks, and for some, it has provided new skills to work with robotic arms and automation.”

In the Sort-to-Bag configuration, the robot sorters would receive parcels and packages from the facility’s primary sorter, and distribute them to 80 separate final ZIP code destinations. DHL said this system produces an 80% increase in labor efficiency.

In the Sort-to-Gaylord method, the system has a proprietary drawer-shaped conveyor belt end effector, which enables several parcel types to be sorted and placed in Gaylord containers. DHL said the system in Atlanta sorts to 20 separate 60-inch tall Gaylord containers with “a practically perfect sorting accuracy.”

“The Dorabot deployments in DHL eCommerce Solutions is a winning example of the effective collaboration between the business unit and the DHL Innovation Center,” said Ben Perlson, robotics and automation lead with DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “The Innovation Center team supports operations by maintaining a pipeline of advanced technology solutions and strategic partners to continuously create new value through innovation and deliver greater service levels for our customers.”

In June 2021, DHL Express announced the deployment of its first Dorabot AI-powered robotic sortation system at one of its service centers based in Miami, Fla.

Additional details on Dorabot and its technologies are available here.


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