Among the combinations of software and hardware for warehouse automation is robotics software and wearable technology. inVia Robotics Inc. and Rufus Labs Inc. yesterday announced a strategic partnership to jointly offer their systems through subscriptions. The companies said the combination of their e-commerce automation, wearables, and workforce analytics is intended to help address labor shortages and improve efficiency and productivity.
Founded in 2015, Westlake Village, Calif.-based inVia Robotics said it has developed the “first economical” goods-to-person system through a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model.
Founded in 2013, Rufus Labs claimed to be the only company to offer industrial wearables and cloud enterprise software on a subscription basis. The Los Angeles-based company said its Rufus WorkHero productivity-as-a-service (PaaS) platform ensures that customers are equipped with the latest technology to increase warehouse productivity, safety, and accuracy.
Robots and wearables coordinate movement
inVia Robotics and Rufus Labs said their technologies can ensure a continuous flow of orders through a warehouse by increasing picking rates with existing labor. inVia Picker autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can autonomously retrieve ordered items and bring them to a stationary picker. That worker is directed by inVia PickMate software running on Rufus' Android wearables and tablets to scan the items, place them in an order bin, and then scan the bin.
This cycle repeats and is continuously improved with intelligence from inVia Logic and Rufus Labs' WorkHero software to create the most efficient movement of goods and people throughout the warehouse, said the partners.
“inVia Logic alone doubles worker's productivity and paves the way to later quadruple productivity once inVia Picker robots are deployed,” said Lior Elazary, co-founder and CEO of inVia Robotics. “With the added efficiencies introduced with Rufus Labs' wearable technology, we expect productivity to reach new highs in our shared customers' facilities.”
Both companies said their systems integrate with most warehouse management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. In addition, the inVia Connect translation tool is built into inVia's artificial intelligence and matches data fields across systems, simplifying a costly and complicated systems integration process that traditionally took months to complete, it said.
Subscription models converge
As e-commerce demand grows, inVia and Rufus Labs said they can help warehouses accelerate digitization without requiring large capital expenditures. The two companies said their joint approach uses software to optimize relationships among inventory, people, wearable devices, and AMRs in the warehouse.
inVia said its RaaS model allows customers to pay only for the services they use, keeping investment targeted and delivering faster return on investment (ROI). The company added that its system can optimize inventory placement, direct people or robots on the most efficient paths, and orchestrate workflows to ensure idle time is minimized.
Rufus Labs said its PaaS offering includes rugged wearable computers and barcode scanners that offer real-time scanning metrics, scan and non-scan labor task management, and workforce data to continually improve warehouse operations. The scanner is modular, allowing warehouse workers to choose their ergonomic preference by sliding the scanning module into a ring, glove, or palm scanner attachment.
In addition, the Rufus RADD Tab provides operators in materials handling vehicles or warehouse carts with hands-free access to supply chain applications to complete tasks faster and more accurately, said the company.
“Optimizing humans and robots in the warehouse is key to future sustainability, increased productivity, and ensuring a safe environment for workers. Rufus WorkHero already cuts pick time in half and provides added safety features to pickers,” said Gabe Grifoni, founder and CEO of Rufus Labs. “Our partnership with inVia will continue to improve throughput for our mutual customers, and allow for future innovations between humans and machines.”
First joint deployment
The first joint deployment of inVia's Logic AI-driven software and the Rufus WorkHero connected operator technology is at Cargo Cove Fulfillment. The suppliers said the Jacksonville, Fla.-based third-party logistics provider (3PL) “will see immediate benefit across warehouse configuration optimization, worker productivity, and visibility analytics.” Cargo Cove said it expects to double productivity as a result of the joint integration.
“With options to scale and add services as needed through the subscription model, 3PLs can benefit from the consistent ability to quickly and efficiently automate in line with business growth,” said inVia and Rufus Labs.
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