Berkshire Grey Inc. today announced the general availability of its BG FLEX platform for order fulfillment. The Bedford, Mass.-based company said the platform includes dynamically controlled fleets of its industrial-grade mobile robots. They work together to induct, transport, sort, sequence, and fulfill items, cases, and containers of merchandise.
“Retail enterprises that approach their supply chains holistically can save millions of dollars and take care of customers faster and more profitably by investing in mobile robotic automation,” stated Steve Johnson, chief operating officer of Berkshire Grey. “This generation of our AI-enabled mobile robotic platform harnesses mobile swarm technology, integrated buffer, and robotic picking along with advances in software and hardware performance that transform fulfillment operations at their core.”
Berkshire Grey said it combines robotics and artificial intelligence to automate supply chain operations. The company said its customers include Global 100 retailers and logistics service providers.
BG FLEX integrated as a modular package
BG FLEX is now integrated with new, high-density buffering capabilities and enhanced goods-to-person and goods-to-robot picking stations in a single, modular package, said Berkshire Grey.
With BG FLEX, retailers can easily convert any floor into a flexible any-to-any induct-to-discharge sortation system. They can also implement complete fulfillment systems for any environment – from the back of store and standalone micro-fulfillment centers to distribution center implementations, it said.
Berkshire Grey claimed that BG FLEX can transform fulfillment operations by:
- Reducing store truck-unload and aisle-replenishment times with granular presorting
- Enabling seamless curbside pickup and extended BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) product selection
- Facilitating delivery-route alignment for quick commerce and home delivery
- Maximizing transport utilization in delivery networks
- Reducing reshelving and maximizing inventory pick station utilization for e-commerce
- Automatically integrating resale-ready returned goods with existing inventory
- Storing and consolidating partial orders together with filled orders for just-in-time transport loading
- Storing, picking, and sorting, with industry-leading goods conveyability
- Integrating with Berkshire Grey’s family of AI-enabled robotic picking systems
“More so than other warehouse robotics vendors, Berkshire Grey addresses the intense challenges thrust upon warehouses struggling with essential consumer product deliveries,” said Sankara Narayanan, a senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “BG customers are well-positioned to embrace new, secular shifts in both consumer demand and labor constraints.”
Berkshire Grey boasts of automation capabilities
Berkshire Grey claimed that BG FLEX can orchestrate hundreds to thousands of mobile robots working together. The platform can also improve performance over time, thanks to AI and machine learning, said the company. In addition, it can adapt to the variability of each customer's operations and provide ongoing throughput optimization, said Berkshire Grey.
BG FLEX can scale from moderate to very large operations in a matter of days with no downtime, according to the company. The new system can deliver high reliability and resiliency with no single points of failure, it stated.
The design flexibility of BG FLEX enables deployments in both brownfield, or existing, operations, as well as in greenfield, or new ones, said Berkshire Grey. The platform's simulation allows for planning operations with real-time visualization for rapid deployments and production performance “out of the box,” it said.
Berkshire Grey provides open application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow for integration with automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), palletizers, and other systems.
The company built the next generation of its mobile robotic platform on the success of its first generation systems, which major retailers are using. Hundreds of mobile robots sort and sequence tens of thousands of items, cases, and reusable containers on a daily basis, noted Berkshire Grey.
Trucks are optimally loaded based on each customer’s preferred strategy, resulting in shorter unload times and significant improvements in store operations for product putaway.
“The new features of BG FLEX – including high-density buffer and multiple picking options – extend the functionality of the system to provide end-to-end fulfillment and sortation processing in an optimally sized footprint appropriate for any operational environment,” Berkshire Grey said.
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