Warehouse operators are gearing up for peak season and face higher shipping volumes driven by increased consumer demand. To build more resilient, efficient supply chains, warehouse operators are adding automation to keep up with demand while mitigating labor shortages. To that end, Motion Controls Robotics Inc. (MCRI) yesterday said it is joining Plus One Robotics Inc.’s integrator program.
“By adding the Plus One product line to our existing end-of-line solutions, fulfillment, and distribution center automation efforts, along with our Industry 4.0 connectivity packages, it gives us a unique advantage in the industry”, said Scott Lang, president and CEO of MCRI.
MCRI designs, builds, and integrates robots and materials handling automation across a range of industries. The company said it combines automation expertise with full plant and front-office connectivity with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and warehouse management systems (WMS). Since 1995, MCRI has been a certified servicing integrator for FANUC America, and it has integrator certification from the Association for Advancing Automation (A3, formerly the Robotics Industry Association).
Vision advances power supervised autonomy
The partners said they will offer customized and scalable automation for tasks such as depalletization, order fulfillment, induction, tote picking, and parcel sortation. They plan to serve customers in the e-commerce, manufacturing, medical, food and beverage, and shipping industries.
Computer vision and robotics industry veterans founded Plus One Robotics in 2016. The San Antonio-based startup applies artificial intelligence and 3D vision to industrial robots for materials handling in warehouses. Plus One claimed that its novel approach to human-robot collaboration and supervised autonomy ensures fast, reliable, and scalable solutions, with one person able to manage many robots simultaneously. Plus One’s customers include logistics and e-commerce leaders in the Fortune 100, and it raised $33 million in April.
Advances in computer vision capabilities allow logistics robots to learn to recognize new SKUs, so warehouse workers can move to value-added positions such as crew chief, said Plus One Robotics. A crew chief can manage multiple robots using Plus Ones’ Yonder software to handle exceptions.
The crew chief works remotely, seeing on screen exactly what a robot sees, said the company. When the robot asks for help by issuing an alert over the cloud, the crew chief can direct it to the best pick point and get the robot back to work in seconds, said Plus One.
MCRI plans technology showcase
Later this year, MCRI plans to open a new Customer Solution Center in its headquarters in Fremont, Ohio. It will highlight Plus One technologies along with its ImpactIQ suite in live demonstrations. The Industry 4.0 connectivity software includes dashboarding, tracking and traceability, and reporting modules.
“We’re excited to welcome MCRI to the Plus One family,” said Brent Barcey, vice president of business development at Plus One Robotics. “They have an earned track record in designing and scaling robot installations across industries challenged by the volume surge and labor shortage. Together, we can deliver custom designs for a range of applications for fulfillment and distribution centers.”
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