Depalletizing is one of the most arduous tasks in the warehouse receiving process, making it a good task to automate, according to Mujin Corp. The company this month debuted its QuickBot robotic cell and said it includes everything needed for the case-handling application.
“In today’s day and age, a lot is demanded of robot automation systems,” stated Ross Diankov, co-founder and CEO of Mujin. “They need to be highly reliable, have high throughput, and—of foremost importance—they need to deploy quickly, so that businesses can enjoy the return on investment from Day 1.”
“With the arrival of QuickBot, you will be experiencing the start of a new revolution in the next several years, he added. “You will see a lot more of these systems in warehouses, working better, faster, and improving working conditions.”
While conventional robots can automate repetitive tasks, they are often difficult to install where products and environments change, said Mujin. Robot operations also differ by manufacturer, and their settings may be complex, it added. The Tokyo-based company said it has solved this problem with “intelligent robot controllers.”
QuickBot designed for fast deployment
Mujin, which has U.S. offices in Sandy Springs, Ga., said QuickBot is a “no-brainer” for North American logistics. The company claimed that the QuickBot depalletizer—nicknamed “QB”—is the simplest way to automate receiving operations. The robot is easy to install, does not require any tools, and can be picking cases within hours, said Mujin.
Like all of the company's automation, QuickBot uses the MujinController intelligent robot controller. MujinController’s advanced perception and real-time motion planning enables the depalletizing systems to recognize cases on the fly. This feature allows QuickBot to manage real-world scenarios for both single and mixed-SKU pallet loads without prior “teaching” or information from external systems.
“With motion planning, there's no more need for waypoints, and a real-time digital twin gives the controller machine intelligence,” said Josh Cloer, Mujin’s director of sales, in a panel at Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) and Logistics Week.
In addition, Mujin has equipped the QuickBot arm with a universal, heavy payload gripper to meet the physical requirements of general warehouse tasks. The company said QuickBot is quick to deploy for the folllowing reasons:
- It easily uncrates and can be transported via forklift to the installation location
- Everything is pre-installed on a large metal baseplate, so no drilling is required
- The safety system is pre-installed and ready to go upon arrival
- Pneumatically driven, telescoping vision stand makes it easy to raise the vision system to the proper height
- Conveyor is on a rail, with adjustable height, and pulls out to connect to existing conveyor
- No system-level integration is needed to operate
Mujin demo at AMR and Logistics Week
Mujin presented QuickBot at the AMR and Logistics Week in Boston. After forklifting QuickBot into place at its show booth, the company claimed that it took less than three hours to have the unit clearing pallets.
To show how easily QuickBot can integrate into various material handling systems, Mujin and integration partner Robex paired the warehouse QB with a Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) AMR, which managed the pallet handling for the depalletizing workstation.
Also at the conference, Cloer participated in a panel discussion with Matt Charles, vice president of mobile robotics at Robex, and Jack Kaumo, vice president of sales at Formic. Mujin and Formic announced a partnership that will make QuickBot available through a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model.
QuickBot is $20 an hour, Robex provides the MiR AMR at $13.75, so Formic offers RaaS at $33.75 per hour for the total system, they said. “There's ROI from Day 1,” said Cloer. This includes training, he added.
As a result, a business can bypass the typical capital expense and have QuickBot unloading pallets in its warehouse. It would only pay while the system is running, said the partners.
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) hosted AMR and Logistics Week, which was co-located with The Vision Show.
Editor's note: For more about the A3 events, visit our special coverage page.
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