Tompkins Robotics today said it has partnered with IAM Robotics to automate the removal of completed order containers from a sortation process and place empty containers in position. It said the new xChange system is the first to to combine a fully automated unit-sortation system with a robotic container-removal system. This offering can help reduce distribution costs and labor requirements in fulfillment centers, said the company.
Orlando, Fla.-based Tompkins Robotics claimed that its end-to-end fulfillment capabilities now include goods-to-person inventory delivery, pick-and-place induction, the t-Sort robotic sortation, automated packaging, and the new xChange system. The t-Sort materials handling system consists of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) that sort a wide range of items and parcels to consolidation points.
Typically, a unit-sorter system requires a human associate to manually sort items from an accumulation chute to unique order containers and place the containers onto a takeaway conveyor. By contrast, xChange allows most orders to be sorted directly into an order container, and the robotic sortation system automatically removes and replaces the container.
Sortation system combines IAM, Tompkins tech
xChange is based on Atlas, IAM Robotics' latest AMR. Atlas is designed for handling and transporting materials within and between zones inside a traditional warehouse environment.
The robot used for the xChange system includes features such as a robust design with a fully-configurable tote tower and a mobile base with rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology. It also has direct-drive wheels that provide force/torque compliance for safety; they can be moved even when unpowered.
The robot provides flexibility for various tote sizes with configurable vertical shelf positions, making it the perfect fit for the foundation of xChange, said Tompkins Robotics.
“We are proud to unveil this breakthrough automation technology with our partner, IAM Robotics,” stated Mike Futch, president and CEO of Tompkins Robotics. “This collaboration combines the strengths of both companies to put the final puzzle piece together to maximize fulfillment automation for our industry.”
The future is now in warehouse fulfillment, say partners
Order fulfillment and most warehouse operations still rely on human labor, noted Tompkins Robotics. However, the acceleration of e-commerce demand by COVID-19, labor shortages, the need for worker safety, and capacity constraints can be mitigated by automation, it said. The company added that the xChange system is designed for high-demand throughput requirements.
Tompkins Robotics said its mobile, scalable and flexible robotics systems can advance productivity, reduce costs, and meet the speed and dynamic nature of today's fulfillment operations. The company will be presenting at the virtual ProMat DX 2021 from April 12 to 16, and those who register for free can visit its showcase page.
Pittsburgh-based IAM Robotics was founded in 2012, and its team of more than 60 robotics engineers and supply chain veterans builds and supports mobile robots for materials handling applications worldwide. The company will also be presenting at ProMat DX, and registered attendees can visit its showcase page.
“We are excited to partner with Tompkins to provide a fully automated sortation/order-fulfillment exit process,” said Tom Galluzzo, founder and CEO of IAM Robotics. “The collaboration between our robotic systems will be a game-changer for logistics.”
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