Fetch Robotics, Körber Announce New Case Picking Solution

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July 14, 2021

Fetch Robotics and Körber have announced a new integrated case pick-to-pallet solution that combines Fetch’s autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) with Körber’s warehouse management systems. The offering dynamically orchestrates the movement of warehouse associates and robots (the Freight500 and Freight1500) to assist distribution centers with picking workflows.

The companies said warehouse needs have risen dramatically over the past year due to a surge in consumer spending and distribution centers facing longstanding labor challenges. This includes hiring and retaining skilled staff, accommodating seasonal fluctuations, and relying on temporary workers to operate forklifts.

“Warehouses today are contending with record order volumes and limited access to labor, and need flexible solutions more than ever before,” said Stefan Nusser, chief product officer at Fetch Robotics. “Our new case picking solution enables customers to achieve safer, more efficient case picking in facilities of all sizes.”

In a traditional case pick-to-pallet workflow, a picker spends the majority of their shift driving a forklift or pulling a manual pallet jack around the warehouse to each location on a pick sheet or RF device. After arriving, the picker must manually find the correct product, execute the pick, return to the forklift or pallet jack, and travel to the next location until the entire pallet is complete. Drawbacks include requiring traveling long distances (which minimizes the actual time spent picking), as well as congestion in warehouses as multiple pickers often use the same routes.

The new solution from Fetch and Körber enables distribution centers to establish zone-based picking, which keeps employees in aisles and enhances picking across numerous orders. The workflow leverages pick path optimization functionality from the Körber WMS, which directs AMRs to the correct locations in the correct sequence for optimal pallet build, Fetch said. The solution can be deployed via RF scanners, voice picking, or along with vision-based picking solutions. Zone-picking enables distribution centers to reduce reliance on manually operated forklifts, adding safety benefits – the companies said more than 11% of all forklifts are involved in an injury, with a single work site injury costing facility owners an estimated $150,000.

The companies said while this solution addresses case picking, the AMRs can also be combined with the WMS to optimize discrete order picking, batch picking, and replenishment. The companies also offer automated pallet-based workflows such as cross docking, putaway, replenishment, and returns. In addition, AMRs can be used to automate almost any material movement, including recycling/trash removal, putaway, milk runs, urgent orders, and other tasks that normally require an associate to manually move materials.

“Fetch Robotics continues to develop cutting-edge automated warehouse solutions, and this new integrated case pick-to-pallet solution will help speed up fulfillment, improve safety and enhance workflows for our customers worldwide,” said Nishan Wijemanne, global leader of AMR/Robotics at Körber.

For more information on the solution, visit the Fetch Robotics website. Zebra Technologies recently announced it was acquiring Fetch Robotics for $290 million.

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