March 3, 2021
GreyOrange, which develops software and robotics for fulfillment automation, has announced a partnership with Vicarious, an AI robotics integrator that automates tasks that are too versatile and complex to be handled by traditional, hard-coded automation systems. The partnership has launched an Autonomous Vertical Picking solution that automates pick-and-pack operations for omnichannel fulfillment in the apparel space.
The system interfaces into a global workflow orchestrated by GreyOrange’s GreyMatter Fulfillment Operating System (FOS), which uses advanced algorithms to continuously evaluate order fulfillment performance to prioritize decisions and workflows. GreyOrange’s Ranger GTP robots (Goods-to-Person) bring inventory stored on Mobile Stock Units (MSUs) to a pick-pack station. The Autonomous Vertical Picking Solution will perceive the size, shape and material characteristics of the inventory items, including when these are loosely positioned in an unstructured fashion, which eliminates the need to create fixture definitions and programming. The system then applies the appropriate motion to approach, retrieve and place items into order boxes. The companies said the solution can handle all kinds of inventory, including small and delicate individual items, known as ‘eaches’, folded stacks of apparel eaches, and bagged or unbagged apparel.
“Vicarious’ computer-vision and robotics technology is a breakthrough in the ability to handle unstructured, previously hard-to-grasp items,” said Dileep George, co-founder and CTO of Vicarious. “Combined with GreyOrange’s knowhow in fulfillment workflows, we can offer a game-changing solution to the industry.”
Other autonomous picking systems perform overhead downward picking, usually from totes holding single items. GreyOrange said the launch marks the first solution able to pick a variety of dissimilar inventory items stored in vertical MUSs. In addition, it works alongside people in the distribution center, augmenting capacity while enabling the human workers to maintain safe physical distances from each other.
“This partnership expands the autonomous picking capabilities of our GreyMatter platform, enabling fulfillment centers to operate at higher throughputs without interruption,” said Akash Gupta, co-founder and CTO at GreyOrange. “Using AI-driven software combined with smart robots can help eCommerce and omnichannel players increase the efficiency of their operations by 300 to 400% while also providing safe and socially distanced work environments for their associates.”