BALYO SA last week said it has successfully installed four very narrow aisle, or VNA, robots at Singapore Storage and Warehouse Pte. Ltd. The Arcueil, France-based company claimed that they are world's tallest autonomous VNA systems, with a lift height of 16.8 m (55.1 ft.). BALYO collaborated with Linde Material Handling on the project.
“This project shows the tremendous superiority of Linde-BALYO’s technology on the high-bay storage and VNA applications,” stated Pascal Rialland, chairman and CEO of BALYO. “Singapore has been the perfect hub to launch applications at extreme heights due to space scarcity and customer engagement toward robotics. We will pursue our commitment to engage further with Linde and their teams to expand this success at further SSW sites and other warehouses around the globe.”
BALYO designs and develops autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for materials handling. The company said its Driven by Balyo technology transforms standard forklifts into intelligent robots. Its geo guidance system enables robots to locate their positions and navigate autonomously indoors, without the need for additional infrastructure.
BALYO provides robots for warehousing applications, including tractor, pallet, stackers, reach and VNA systems. The company and its subsidiaries in Boston and Singapore serve clients in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. It has been listed on EURONEXT since 2017, and its sales revenue reached €21.8 million ($22.01 million U.S.) in 2021.
Singapore Storage and Warehouse goes up
Founded in 1987, Singapore Storage and Warehouse (SSW) provides logistics services to a wide base of customers in Singapore. The company said it helps customers manage their inventory and logistics operations under normal business conditions, as well as during exceptional times such as emergencies.
SSW wanted to convert manually operated VNA lift trucks into AMRs. The main challenge in its Singapore site was height, not throughput. A height of more than 16 m (52.4 ft.) for autonomous picking and dropping of pallets was previously unheard of, claimed BALYO.
Countries such as Singapore, the U.K., and Japan face space constraints and a tight labor market, leading to warehouse storage expanding vertically, noted BALYO.
Linde Material Handling Singapore, along with BALYO, implemented its new VNA model with full reliability and safety. The companies also said SSW's site is the first in the world with autonomous operations at such a height.
BALYO said its innovative approach to safety, standard OEM forklift controls, and smart perception of pallets led to robots that can reach new heights. After a few weeks of tests in 2021 and a commissioning lead time of two months, the company successfully ramped up and handed over four autonomous VNAs to SSW. These robots can handle pallets up to 750 kg (1,653.4 lb.).
BALYO partners for new capability
To accelerate the material handling market conversion to autonomy, BALYO has entered into global partnerships with Hyster-Yale Group and KION, the parent company of Fenwick-Linde.
With the new VNA robots, warehouse and supply chain managers around the globe can now consider autonomous VNA at heights that were earlier not possible.
“We are very happy to be partnering with BALYO and Linde for this automation project,” commented Ong Swee Keong, CEO of SSW. “The productivity gains have been impressive, and I am glad that the dedication and hard work put in by everyone in SSW, Linde, BALYO, and our partners for this project have paid off.”
“This capability is unique in the world today,” said BALYO. “This opens a new applicative segment to BALYO, its partners, and clients, which were until now constrained to manual operations or less flexible fully automated warehouses (ASRS). Managers can now engage the conversion to autonomy thanks to this technological milestone.”
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