GXO Logistics Inc. today announced that it has deployed 6 River Systems Inc. collaborative mobile robots on multiple mezzanine floors in one of its distribution centers in Milton Keynes, U.K. The Greenwich, Conn.-based company said the deployment was an industry first.
“This multi-tiered installation is groundbreaking for us and a first in our industry,” stated Gavin Williams, managing director for the U.K. and Ireland at GXO. “The solution illustrates our significant investment in technology that helps us improve productivity for our customers and safety for our colleagues while optimizing vertical warehouse space in Europe.”
6RS Chucks help GXO increase picking accuracy
GXO worked with Waltham, Mass.-based 6 River Systems (6RS) to develop and test new features on the Chuck robots, which automatically travel from one location to another carrying picked items. This reduced employees’ walk time and helping them pick items from inventory more efficiently.
At another GXO site in Stoke-on-Trent, 6RS's autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have enhanced picking accuracy by 40% and reduced new employee training time by 80% since being deployed, reported the company.
“Our work with GXO at the Milton Keynes distribution center is a prime example of 6 River Systems’ ability to meet the needs of high-volume organizations that are building multi-tiered warehouse installations,” said Jerome Dubois, co-founder and co-CEO of 6 River Systems. “As businesses continue to seek automation solutions to meet increasing consumer demands, we’re innovating to equip them with technology to enhance safety and productivity.”
As part of its accelerating investments in technology and automation, GXO has more than tripled its robot count year-on-year in the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2021. By using Chucks and other innovative warehouse systems, the company said it has achieved significant improvements in pick rates, accuracy, and employee satisfaction.
About the companies
GXO Logistics claimed that it is the world’s largest pure-play contract logistics provider in a $430 billon total addressable market that is benefitting from the rapid growth of e-commerce, automation, and outsourcing. The company has about 95,000 team members across more than 850 warehouse locations totaling approximately 200 million sq. ft. (18.5 million sq. m).
GXO said it has partnered with leading blue-chip companies to solve complex logistics challenges with technologically advanced supply chain and e-commerce solutions, at scale and with speed.
Founded in 2015, 6 River Systems provides collaborative mobile robots and software for order fulfillment. Co-founders Jerome Dubois and Rylan Hamilton were previously executives at Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics). 6RS is now part of global commerce company Shopify Inc.
The company's Chuck robots are operating in more than 20 facilities in the U.S., Canada and Europe, fulfilling millions of units each week for companies including Lockheed Martin, CSAT Solutions, ACT Fulfillment, DHL, XPO Logistics, and Office Depot.