Robotics and AI in Logistics

Robotics. Artificial intelligence. Machine learning. Networked technology. These terms are increasingly vital to logistics. Problems such as the lack of resources are solved by using robotics throughout the supply chain, which simultaneously increases quality and the profitability of the processes. Humans and machines do not compete, but rather complement each other: A robot never gets tired and can carry out tasks over a long period of time with consistently high quality. By comparison, a human can respond quickly and flexibly to new requirements. Together, humans and technology make a great team for implementing logistics requirements in the most effective and efficient way.  The use of artificial intelligence opens up the range of applications for robots, turning them into high-performance, economical assistants. 

We offer an extensive selection of industrial robot solutions for various processes in production and the warehouse: robots for bin picking, robots for fully automatic full-case picking, and autonomous mobile robots for transport tasks

More than single-item picking: Pick-it-Easy Robot

Pick-it-Easy Robot is the right choice, not just for automatic single-item picking but also for the induction of articles in pre-picked batch containers into overhead or sorting systems. Various grippers, AI-based object recognitionthe so-called Covariant Brain – and grip point specification mean that the Pick-it-Easy Robot can handle a broad article range, for many applications in diverse sectors. Even when goods have reflective surfaces, the Pick-it-Easy Robot knows exactly where to hold them and gently places them exactly where they belong. Machine learning means that the system is continuously learning and improving itself.

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Three good reasons to choose the Pick-it-Easy Robot

With the Pick-it-Easy Robot, we combine cutting-edge technology with comprehensive logistics expertise. It’s not just the artificial intelligence that makes the fully automatic robot station special, it’s how well it can be integrated, and what it adds through its high performance.

• Continuously learning system
• AI and cloud robotics
• Gentle, accurate article handling
• Intelligent overall system
• Optimal material flow control
• Integration in existing systems
• Full performance and quality
• High system availability
• Proven industrial solution

Pick-it-Easy Robot in action: The proven industrial robotics solution

Obeta is a German electrical wholesaler with headquarters in Berlin and boasts 28,000 customers and 64 locations across Germany. With the help of the Pick-it-Easy Robot, they pack thousands of customer orders every day. Michael Pultke, Head of Logistics, Obeta, provides insight.

Pick-it-Easy Robot in operation at Obeta

Along with Obeta, other customers also rely on the intelligence of the Pick-it-Easy Robot. Numerous robot stations are in operation worldwide in innovative companies in different sectors.

It’s definitely the seamless operation and continuous monitoring of storage processes that represent the added value. Automating our warehouse operation is one of Obeta’s top priorities and the Pick-it-Easy Robot helps us achieve this goal.

Portrait von Michael Pultke, Head of Logistics bei Obeta
Michael Pultke
Head of Logistics, Obeta

Intelligent integration of Robotics and AI

View of the OSR Shuttle™ Evo automatic storage system’s rack line. Two shuttles are storing containers in the shuttle system. One shuttle is moving into the aisle while the other shuttle is doing a cross run and changing to the next rack line. A LED strip on the front of the shuttle indicates the status of the storage robot. The OSR Shuttle™ Evo is low-maintenance and offers very high system availability.

Pick-it-Easy Robot + OSR Shuttle™

The combination of a fast shuttle system and a reliable picking robot creates an efficient, fully automatic goods-to-robot picking process.

The image shows the intelligent pocket sorter system at customer REI. The pocket sorter is a sorting and sequencing system with adapters for sorter pockets or hangers. The pocket sorter is a product from Dürkopp Fördertechnik, a member of the KNAPP Group

Pick-it-Easy Robot + Pocket Sorter

Combining the powerful pocket sorter system and the Pick-it-Easy Robot results in an efficient solution for multi-channel applications, especially in the fashion and retail sectors.

Fully automatic full-case picking in food retail: RUNPICK

RUNPICK – short for Robotic Universal Picker – takes store delivery up to a whole new level. Specially developed for food retail, the system processes and palletizes large handling units for brick and mortar retail fully automatically. The robot is capable of store-friendly picking and handles both fresh and shelf-stable goods on pallets and roll containers. Multiple item picking allows several items to be deposited at the same time in just one cycle, leading to a considerable increase of performance.

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Three great reasons to opt for RUNPICK

RUNPICK provides higher throughput, shorter container transit times, and adaptability for food retail. With its intelligent packing algorithm, selectable picking criteria and its combining of different pack unit types, the robot is an ace at store-friendly delivery.

• Higher performance thanks to multiple item picking
• Combination of different items per cycle
• Easy system expansion
• Store-specific picking
• Scalable, modular solution
• Selectable picking criteria
• Counteracts labor shortages
• Reduces personnel costs
• No physical strain on employees

RUNPICK in action: Integration into omnichannel models and solutions for store delivery

RUNPICK can ideally be integrated in solutions for brick and mortar retail as well as in omnichannel models.

The omnichannel solution connects all logistics processes within a warehouse: e-commerce, brick and mortar retail, as well as a combination of both. In the fully automatic version, our intelligent robots take on the work: Pick-it-Easy Robot processes single items while RUNPICK processes large handling units, both fully automatically.

In our blog we talk about how RUNPICK is revolutionizing food retail warehousing.

The big advantage that RUNPICK offers is that it can handle a variety of pack unit types and processes them fast and efficiently with the help of multiple-item picking. This significantly increases performance compared to existing systems.

Portrait von Günther Kainersdorfer, Product Management Systems, KNAPP Systemintegration
Günther Kainersdorfer
Product Management Systems, KNAPP Systemintegration

Smart combination of technologies

The fully automatic picking system RUNPICK is taking a large handling unit with goods and placing it onto a pallet. RUNPICK, short for Robotic Universal Picker, is a robot specially developed for food retail. RUNPICK takes on fully automatic full-case picking for bricks and mortar food retail.
View of the OSR Shuttle™ Evo automatic storage system’s rack line. Two shuttles are storing containers in the shuttle system. One shuttle is moving into the aisle while the other shuttle is doing a cross run and changing to the next rack line. A LED strip on the front of the shuttle indicates the status of the storage robot. The OSR Shuttle™ Evo is low-maintenance and offers very high system availability.
View of the KiSoft Pack Master user interface, software for calculating packing patterns in logistics

RUNPICK + OSR Shuttle™ Evo + KiSoft Pack Master

The RUNPICK solution is always a combination of our OSR Shuttle™ Evo, KiSoft Pack Master software and the picking and palletizing system.

Optimizing processes with robotics: Automatic palletizing and depalletizing

Loading and unloading pallets is a physically strenuous task for employees because of the heavy lifting involved. This is where robots can really lighten the load as part of innovative automation solutions. In goods-in, they depalletize fully automatically and prepare the articles for storage. In goods-out, they assemble stable pallets for shipping. Robots can also stack and destack cartons and standard handling units, and load dollies, all of that fully automatically. This full automation both takes the strain off employees and increases efficiency.

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Automatic palletizing and depalletizing brings flexibility and performance

Whatever your business model, robot solutions for palletizing and depalletizing deliver the required flexibility and performance. Robots function extremely well in various processes:

  • Depalletizing various handling units and loading them directly into storage containers
  • Palletizing store containers or empty handling units layer by layer
  • Stacking and destacking cartons and standard handling units
  • Loading various container types onto dollies
  • Mixed case palletizing of cartons or store containers

Palletizing and depalletizing solutions: Robotics at Dior

The exclusive perfumes and cosmetics giant Parfums Christian Dior uses KNAPP robot solutions for their manufacturing location in Saint-Jean-de-Braye, France. Automation is what makes efficient omni-channel fulfillment possible. Smart robots handle most of the work, boosting distribution performance.

Head over to our blog to find out more about the solution at Parfums Christian Dior.

This project turned out to be quite an adventure for me. We worked closely with the KNAPP team to realize the project successfully within 18 months. The key to our success was open communication and professional, cordial collaboration in every project phase.

Portrait von Olivier Sorbe, EMEA Physical Logistic Manager bei Parfums Christian Dior
Olivier Sorbe
EMEA Physical Logistics Manager, Parfums Christian Dior

Fully automatic palletization – Intelligently integrated

View of the OSR Shuttle™ Evo automatic storage system’s rack line at KRAMP. Two shuttles can be seen from the front. An LED strip indicates the status of the shuttle. The automatic storage system OSR Shuttle™ Evo is particularly low maintenance.

Robot solutions for palletizing and depalletizing + OSR Shuttle™ Evo

The OSR Shuttle™ Evo takes care of the processes before and after. After automatic depalletization or destacking, the articles are stored in the OSR Shuttle™ Evo until they are needed. Later, the OSR Shuttle™ Evo retrieves the handling units in the correct sequence, so that the end result is a stable shipping pallet.

A palletizing robot in the Parfums Christian Dior warehouse places cartons on pallets in the dispatch area. The software for calculating the packing arrangement determines the right packing pattern. The fully automatic robot palletizing enables stable pallets.

Robot solutions for palletizing and depalletizing + KiSoft Pack Master

The robots need to know where on the target load carrier to place the cartons or handling units – this intelligent software works in the background to provide this information. KiSoft Pack Master calculates the perfect packing pattern, determining the sequence in which the articles are retrieved from the OSR Shuttle™ Evo.

Autonomous mobile robot for transport within facilities: Open Shuttle

Can transport processes within a facility run flexibly? Of course they can. With the Open Shuttles, it’s easy. These autonomous mobile robots connect different areas within facilities quickly and efficiently, bringing goods, raw materials and components to where they need to be. Taking different kinds of load carriers from A to B is a breeze for the Open Shuttles. Thanks to their innovative technology, they act with complete autonomy, they don’t need any aids, and they are 100% safe for people. What’s more, they are flexible and easy to integrate.

Three top reasons to choose Open Shuttles

Open Shuttles are so flexible that various logistical challenges are a breeze for them, whether they are deployed as a stand-alone solution or as part of an all-in-one solution. The autonomous mobile robots act as an intelligent swarm and are easy to configure.

• Integrated and swarm intelligence
• Intelligent route planning
• Intelligent management of orders and resources
• Simple control of the layout, processes and fleet
• Easily adapted
• Quickly integrated
• Connects all locations in the warehouse without changes to the system
• Scalable fleet size
• Handles every kind of transport task

Open Shuttle in action: Flexible manufacturing supply

The Swiss flow meter manufacturer Digmesa adapted the transport processes in manufacturing after merging locations. An Open Shuttle is now responsible for supplying injection molding machines with empty containers and for taking finished parts to buffer storage. Stefan Schneider, CEO Digmesa AG, talks about the decision for an Open Shuttle:

Das fahrerlose Transportfahrzeug (FTF) von KNAPP versorgt Spritzgießmaschinen bei Digmesa.

What really convinced us was the shuttle’s functionalities. In comparison with other systems, with the Open Shuttle, we can pick up and deliver at various heights. This is something we needed that only the KNAPP autonomous mobile robot could fulfill. Talking to the KNAPP employees, we also quickly realized how dynamic, flexible and competent the company is. This was very impressive, so we soon had a lot of confidence in the finished solution.

Portrait von Stefan Schneider, Geschäftsführer von Digmesa AG
Stefan Schneider
CEO, Digmesa AG

Open Shuttles – Intelligent integration

View of the OSR Shuttle™ Evo automatic storage system’s rack line. Two shuttles are storing containers in the shuttle system. One shuttle is moving into the aisle while the other shuttle is doing a cross run and changing to the next rack line. A LED strip on the front of the shuttle indicates the status of the storage robot. The OSR Shuttle™ Evo is low-maintenance and offers very high system availability.

Open Shuttles + OSR Shuttle™ Evo

Perfect flexibility meets perfect performance: Together, the OSR Shuttle™ Evo and the Open Shuttle are even more powerful as a smart system solution – the OSR Shuttle™ Evo+. Goods, raw materials, overstock, buffered orders – everything is stored centrally in the OSR Shuttle™ Evo. The Open Shuttles supply different work stations in diverse warehouse areas directly from the OSR Shuttle™ Evo just-in-time.

More about our autonomous mobile robots

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