Vecna Robotics Partners With Forklift Company Big Joe on New Pallet Jack

Vecna and Big Joe plan to offer the new robotic pallet jack through a subscription model.

Vecna Robotics

Vecna and Big Joe said the new CBJ was built for tight spaces and labor-intensive workflows.
Vecna Robotics and Big Joe Forklifts are working together on a new robot aimed for warehouses and manufacturing facilities.

Today at MODEX 2022, Vecna Robotics jointly announced with pedestrian material handling equipment company Big Joe Handling Systems its latest robot—the Vecna CPJ.  

The pallet jack is designed to bring human-assisted robotics to warehouses and manufacturing facilities with labor-intensive workflows that have been long ignored by robotics automation, the companies said.  

Waltham, Mass.-based Vecna and Hayward, Calif.-based Big Joe claimed that their robot has been proven to improve throughout by 45% versus human work alone. 

Will be available through RaaS

To maximize the accessibility of the product and help with immediate labor shortages, the Vecna CPJ will be available through a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) pricing model that is designed to support easy onboarding of robotics solutions and deliver rapid savings without the need for large budgets.

“Bringing solutions to market that empower workers to better manage in-between material handling tasks is a core to who we are,” said Bill Pedriana, chief marketing officer of Big Joe. “We are thrilled to be working with an industry leader like Vecna Robotics to bring our first robotics offering to the masses together. Their intelligent and easy to deploy system will help our joint customers make moving workloads far more efficient Day 1.”

Available for purchase by the end of 2022, Vecna said CPJ will offer the following:

  • Flexible configurations for moving a variety of pallets, carts, racks, bins, and other payloads up to 3,300 lbs. / 1,500 kg
  • Full autonomous mobile robot (AMR) functionality, intelligent route planning, obstacle circumvention, and transport at an accessible entry point
  • Seamless switching between autonomous and manual control, easy onboarding, a user interface designed for intuitive programming, and collaborative workflows
  • Enterprise-class automation to historically underserved workflows, including pallet and tote consolidation, pick-to-packout, quality assurance/quality control/rework, and dunnage retrieval
  • Productivity boosts with collaborative human-robot workflows at large, multi-shift enterprise sites with tight spaces
  • Intelligent human-robot orchestration, autonomy, interoperability, remote monitoring, and analytics powered by Vecna’s Pivotal software

Vehicle vendors join forces

There are more 5 billion pallets in circulation and nearly 5 million manual pallet jacks at work moving them every day, according to the Vecna Robotics and Big Joe. With 70% of the total cost of moving those pallets being labor – and severe labor shortages crippling supply chains – the companies said they have identified a clear need for an autonomous system to handle “in-between” loads.

The new offering combines Vecna's expertise in AMRs and orchestration with Big Joe’s trusted hardware, the companies said.

Together, the two companies said they provide an easy-to-use, on-demand labor automation service that frees up human workers to focus on higher-value tasks.

“The last 18 months had driven huge demand for AMRs like autonomous forklifts, but current offerings are typically only accessible to very large facilities,” said Craig Malloy, CEO of Vecna Robotics. “Our CPJ is a game-changer, as it allows facilities of varied sizes to address their immediate labor shortages with intelligent material handling robots. The new solution works seamlessly alongside human workers and automates a broader range of payloads, workflows, and environments that the market is not currently addressing.”

Vecna customers interested in pallet jack

Vecna Robotics customers, including GEODIS and Shape Corp., welcomed the new technology.

“Vecna Robotics’ new cobot platform is an innovative, accessible solution for improving productivity in labor-intensive, underserved workflows across the warehouse,” said Andy Johnston, senior director of innovation at GEODIS in Americas.We look forward to future tests of the platform and continued innovation from Vecna Robotics on automating material handling workflows.”

“Vecna Robotics’ CPJ is a versatile platform that complements our future deployments, while the flexibility and simplicity of operation allows us to tackle new use cases,” said Mahesh Nikam, shape excellence systems manager at Shape Corp.

“We look forward to expanding our work with Vecna and incorporating this into our other workflows to automate our material handlings processes,” added Nikam.

Vecna also collaborated with Quanergy Systems on the lidar technology used by the CPJ to enable mass-market adoption and democratize access to automation.

“The time to democratize automation in material handling is now,” said Enzo Signore, chief marketing officer at Quanergy. “This technology has long been exclusive to early adopters or those in select industries with large budgets for innovation.”

“In collaboration with Vecna Robotics, we have a unique opportunity to deliver a true co-bot solution to help companies overcome dire labor shortage issues with technology that can be immediately deployed, virtually out of the box,” he added.

Vecna and Big Joe at MODEX

To learn more about the Vecna CPJ and test drive the new offering, stop by showcase booth C7485 or demonstration booth B8837 at MODEX 2022.

Also at this year’s MODEX, the Big Joe team will be showcasing a host of lithium powered lift trucks including the new RPL44 low-profile rider pallet truck and the PTT60 powered pedestrian tugger, both of which feature power steering.

These new units offer compact designs for numerous applications as standalone products and were designed to be ready for future autonomous development.

The standard RPL44 and PTT60 will be available for order at the conclusion of MODEX, with deliveries to begin late spring 2022.

Vecna Robotics

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Vecna Robotics

Vecna and Big Joe said the new CBJ was built for tight spaces and labor-intensive workflows.

Robot Technologies