With e-commerce booming, robots are essential for fast and efficient parcel sortation. FedEx Ground recently implemented Berkshire Grey’s Robotic Product Sortation and Identification (RPSi) systems at its station in Queens, N.Y.
“We are encouraged by the initial package handling and processing accuracy of Berkshire Grey’s RPSi system in our Queens facility,” said Ted Dengel, managing director of operations technology and innovation at FedEx Ground. “As an industry leader in technology and automation, we see the significant benefits that next-generation innovation brings in terms of enabling increased safety and productivity, enhancing customer service and improving flexibility to adjust to changing package volumes and sizes.”
Berkshire Grey said its technology combines artificial intelligence and robotics to transform fulfillment, supply chain, and logistics operations. The Bedford, Mass.-based company said it can automate pick, pack, move, store, organize, and sort operations to deliver competitive advantage for enterprises serving today’s connected consumers. Its customers include Global 100 retailers and logistics service providers.
RPSi to sort parcels at multiple facilities
Berkshire Grey executed the RPSi systems to robotically sort the thousands of small packages that arrive daily in bulk into containers bound for other specific hubs and stations across the FedEx Ground network. FedEx Ground said it plans to install additional Berkshire Grey RPSi systems at sortation facilities in Las Vegas and Columbus, Ohio, in the coming months.
RPSi autonomously picks, identifies, sorts, collects, and containerizes individual polybags, tubes, padded mailers, and other small packages that are traditionally processed manually. FedEx Ground noted that this installation is its latest investment to help accommodate the rapid growth of e-commerce through the use of automation and robotics.
“Our RPSi system is engineered from the ground up to automatically handle high volumes of small packages in small spaces with limited worker intervention, which significantly reduces labor challenges, streamlines sorting processes, and increases the efficiency of carrier operations across their networks,” said Jessica Moran, senior vice president of parcels and 3PL (third-party logistics) businesses at Berkshire Grey.
“More importantly, our system is uniquely able to address a core challenge in the traditional package-sortation process: requiring package labels to be manually adjusted so they can be scanned properly,” she said. “With our patented HyperScanner optical identification modules, barcodes can be read from any angle in milliseconds — all without manual intervention.”
FedEx Ground relies on automation to meet demand
Pittsburgh-based FedEx Ground has more than 180,000 team members, 642 distribution hubs and local pickup-and-delivery stations, and 95,000 motorized vehicles operated by 5,400 locally-owned small businesses. The subsidiary of FedEx Corp. transported more than 12 million packages per day in its latest fiscal quarter. FedEx reported annual revenue of $30.5 billion in fiscal year 2021.
FedEx Ground said it and Berkshire Grey have developed and installed the technology as a direct response to the exponential growth of e-commerce, which has accelerated the demand for reliable automation throughout all stages of the supply chain.
The company added that it believes that continued innovation and automation will improve safety, efficiency, and productivity for its team members as they continue to keep the e-commerce supply chain moving.
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