Robotics

Technological advances in robotics and artificial intelligence are shaping the world of logistics, promising innovative logistics processes. Automation and robotics are on the rise and already feature in countless distribution and production centres around the world. In intralogistics in particular, the demands placed on robotics are incredibly high. Ultimately, the increasingly high demands for quality and performance in order fulfilment have to be met in the face of diverse article ranges, cost pressure, lack of space and shortages of workers.

At KNAPP, we keep close tabs on these challenges and continue to develop our solutions, designing the future together with our customers. Because of this, we have been committed to robotics and artificial intelligence for many years.

Man and machine do not compete with each other – together they make a strong team.
Man and machine do not compete with each other – together they make a strong team.

Humans and machines

The world and its demands are changing – and with them, the working environment of humans. Problems such as the lack of resources are solved by using robotics in the supply chain, which simultaneously increases quality and profitability. Man and machine do not compete with each other – they complement each other. A robot never gets tired and can carry out tasks such as building pallets, picking or sorting goods over a long period of time with consistently high quality. By comparison, a human can react quickly and flexibly to new requirements. Workers and technology form a stronger team that fulfils logistics requirements in the best way possible.

Which processes are right for robots?

Theoretically, many processes in a warehouse can be automated using robotics. However, we’re not concerned with “What can be automated?”, but “Which processes will be made safer, more productive and more efficient by using robots?” and “How can robots improve the human working environment?”

Processes where robots can bring lasting improvement:

Pick-it-Easy Robot is the right choice for automated single-item picking. Various grippers, intelligent object recognition and image processing mean that a broad article range can be picked, and the Pick-it-Easy Robot can be used in diverse sectors. Machine learning allows the system to continuously learn and improve itself.

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Intelligence

A system that continues to learn thanks to artificial intelligence and cloud computing, systematic gentle handling of articles

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Integration

Smart all-in-one system, utmost safety standards, straight-forward integration into existing systems

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Performance

Maximum performance and quality, high system availability, proven industrial solution, 24/7 service worldwide

The Pick-it-Easy Robot offers the following additional advantages:

Machine learning allows for a wide article range

Intelligence is at the core of our Pick-it-Easy Robot, enabling it to handle a wide article range automatically. The Pick-it-Easy Robot reliably grips articles of diverse sizes and weights, shapes, surface characteristics and packaging, regardless of whether the articles are neatly arranged in the container or simply lie chaotically. It then places the goods down gently and precisely. Thanks to the intelligent Vision system for object recognition and grip point identification, the robot continuously learns how and where to grip new articles thereby increasing the system performance. With the help of machine learning, Pick-it-Easy Robot knows how to best grasp the article, automatically selecting the right gripper, the ideal grip point and the right speed for picking the article. With sufficient data and time, the Pick-it-Easy Robot continually builds upon its intelligence and robustness.

Read more about artificial intelligence and robotics in our blog entries: Artificial intelligence at KNAPP How new technologies are changing our world

Automatic error handling and robust, consistent performance

The Pick-it-Easy-Robot embodies these characteristics, having proven itself successfully in industrial settings with several of our customers. The Pick-it-Easy Robot can be integrated in existing system concepts, and as part of a comprehensive picking system, combines flexibility with reliability. As a result, the robot can handle a wide article range with ultimate reliability and guarantees high availability around the clock.

We follow a zero-defect philosophy and have designed this into the Pick-it-Easy Robot. The Pick-it-Easy Robot independently detects and corrects errors, all thanks to the interplay between cutting-edge image recognition and processing technology, software algorithms and peripheral sensor elements.

Learn more about the dependability of the Pick-it-Easy Robot in the blog post – You can rely on the Pick-it-Easy Robot

Thanks to its intelligent error handling and consistently high performance, the Pick-it-Easy Robot perfectly reflects KNAPP’s zero defect philosophy.
Thanks to its intelligent error handling and consistently high performance, the Pick-it-Easy Robot perfectly reflects KNAPP’s zero defect philosophy.

Applications for multiple sectors

Depending on the sector in question, the Pick-it-Easy Robot handles diverse articles – from small medication packages to shirts. The articles not only differ in size but also in surface, weight and shape. Its flexible gripping system easily handles a broad range of articles.

The Pick-it-Easy Robot works flexibly and individually not only when it comes to bin picking – it also acts flexibly and offers various functions when moving the article to the target position.

Our customers in diverse sectors rely on the consistently high performance of the Pick-it-Easy Robot as part of their complete solution. In the pharmaceutical sector, the Pick-it-Easy Robot drops the medication packages into the corresponding target containers. In the food sector where groceries have to be handled more gently, the Pick-it-Easy Robot carefully sets down the goods. In the fashion and e-commerce sectors, the individual articles are often transferred to sorter pockets.

Pick-it-Easy Robot – advantages at a glance

  • Fully-automatic picking solution for logistics applications
  • Complete integration into KNAPP systems
  • System continuously learns thanks to machine learning algorithms.
  • Industrial solution ready for serial production
  • Use in multiple sectors
  • 24/7 service worldwide
  • High system availability, robustness and automatic error handling
  • Processes a wide article range thanks to different grippers that are changed fully-automatically
  • Functions: Dropping, as well as gentle, orderly placement, separating, and merging
  • Named best product at the LogiMAT 2017 trade fair

In addition to the Pick-it-Easy Robot, KNAPP has developed RUNPICK, another innovative solution for processing larger packaged units. RUNPICK is a fully-automatic picking and palletizing system for full case picking for brick and mortar retail. RUNPICK can efficiently process fast, medium and slow-moving articles from the fresh and shelf-stable range. Covering a wide variety of articles, it can form mixed pallets fully-automatically, making it perfect for supplying brick and mortar retail. RUNPICK can be seamlessly integrated into existing KNAPP solutions.

The solution is an innovative combination of the OSR Shuttle™ Evo fully-automatic picking system, the RUNPICK palletizing system and the intelligent software KiSoft Pack Master.

Roboterkommissionierung bei Christian Dior

The KiSoft Pack Master is a special software developed to calculate the best possible stacking patterns so that goods can be packed and stacked in or on top of load carriers (pallets, roll containers, containers, cartons) as effectively as possible. It considers numerous stacking criteria to calculate the optimum position of single items and pack units. Requirements such as maximum stability, best possible use of volume or loading load carriers according to store, are the most significant.

Read more about the packing arrangement calculation in our blog post The perfect pattern with KiSoft Pack Master.

We discuss use of robotics in the food industry in our blog post Food retail warehousing fit for the future with Pick-it-Easy Robot.

In the goods-in area, robots depalletize mixed and unmixed pallets. In the goods-out area, an intelligent packing arrangement software calculates the arrangement allowing stable pallet building. This both takes the strain off employees and increases efficiency.

Robots are playing an increasingly significant role in innovative automation solutions for palletizing and depalletizing goods. Robotics solutions for automated palletizing and depalletizing make good sense for a number of reasons:

  • High performance requirements
  • Costs and competitive pressure
  • Lack of personnel
  • Ergonomic and health-related aspects

Palletizing and depalletizing solutions provide the flexibility and high performance currently in demand. We have various solutions available suitable for different business cases. Robot-supported palletizing and depalletizing solutions cover all business models: As a result, they promote flexible sales channels such as multi-channel, cross-channel and omni-channel solutions. Use cases implemented using robot solutions:

  • Depalletizing cartons and direct loading of storage containers
  • Palletizing shop containers onto industrial pallets layer by layer
  • Mixed case palletizing
  • Palletizing empty handling units layer by layer using column robots

Parfums Christian Dior relies on KNAPP robotic solutions.

Autonomous mobile robots like our Open Shuttles communicate using swarm intelligence and handle a multitude of in-house transport tasks. This includes transport from goods-in to the storage system, cross docking or supplying work stations.

A clever way to use our Open Shuttles is in combination with our storage system, OSR Shuttle™ Evo.

In this video, you can see the advantages provided by the intelligent and flexible OSR Shuttle™ Evo+ system solution.

Handling

Manually handling load carriers and documents costs both time and resources, is subject to errors and is monotonous for personnel. These processes can be reliably and efficiently automated to optimize order handling. KNAPP offers an extensive portfolio of handling systems for containers, trays, cartons, pallets and documents, based on the latest Streamline and Powerline conveyor concepts. Our handling systems are characterized by their high performance, profitability and efficiency.

Manually handlings containers and trays costs both time and resources. KNAPP’s handling systems automate these tasks. This not only boosts efficiency, it also saves money and relieves strain on personnel. An extensive, made to order portfolio of handling systems for containers and trays, is available for diverse processes.

High versatility The handling systems have been developed for use in order processing and distribution centres and provide efficient, flexible and automated order processing. Handling systems for containers and trays can take care of the following tasks:

  • Stacking
  • Destacking
  • Emptying
  • Sealing
Destacker

Modular design Modular in design, the handling systems fit right into the standard design concept of KNAPP’s Streamline conveyor system, which includes parts commonality. This means that they can be seamlessly integrated into the intralogistics system. Structure and function depend how the handling system will be used. Advantages of handling systems

  • Boost productivity by automating time-consuming, monotonous activities
  • High quality thanks to mechanized processes
  • Free employees from monotonous tasks
  • Easy maintenance by virtue of the open and easily accessible modular design
  • Run both quietly and on-demand to save energy, but are still incredibly fast
  • Energy efficient
  • Fits the Streamline parts commonality and design concept

The handling systems for cartons process them efficiently and automatically across various warehouse processes. Handling systems for cartons can take care of the following tasks:

  • Erecting cartons
  • Sealing
  • Inserting carton dividers
  • Opening
  • Strapping
Carton erector
Use cases for fully-automatic palletizing and depalletizing:
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Depalletizing cartons and direct loading of storage containers
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Palletizing shop containers onto industrial
pallets layer by layer
Stacking and destacking containers and carton trays (e.g. in the food retail sector)
Loading standard containers onto dollies using Cartesian robots
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Mixed case palletizing of cartons
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Palletizing empty handling units layer by layer using column robots

Efficient and flexible automation Paper handling systems have been developed for use in order processing and distribution centres and provide efficient, flexible and automated document handling. They can take care of the following tasks:

  • Automatic order starting
  • Inserting documents
  • Addressing and marking all goods for shipping
PIC

Parts commonality and unified control

Modular in design, the paper handling systems fit right into the standard design concept of KNAPP’s Streamline conveyor system, including parts commonality. All print stations are managed by Print Station Control System (PCS) and are equipped with touchscreen monitors. The PCS is characterized by simple user guidance and visualizes the operational states of the print station.

Print Control Station PCS

Advantages of paper handling systems

  • Top-notch serviceability as components are easily accessible
  • Incredibly cost-effective and time-saving with features such as “just-in-time” print data
  • High throughput thanks to automated order processing
  • Quiet operation and on-demand energy consumption
  • Specially developed control system for print stations (PCS)

Uniform and easy user guidance with visualization

The KNAPP group has an extensive portfolio of control and measurement systems that guarantee maximum quality and performance.   Measuring the space required Measuring devices from the MultiScan series record the dimensions and weight of articles to determine how much space is required. Learn more about the space measuring devices here.   Profile measurement The profile measuring devices in the Profilescan series are measuring frames developed for driven roller and belt conveyors, which identify and check load carriers. Learn more about the profile measuring devices here.

Vision Scantunnel The Vision product series is the central technology in KNAPP’s zero defect warehouse. Vision Scantunnel handles and checks both containers and cartons reliably and efficiently. Process reliability starts with the goods-in procedure and Vision Scantunnel is a reliable solution that automates this procedure intelligently. The Vision Scantunnel captures information contained in 1D and 2D codes on cartons or containers using its high-performance camera system. Optionally, characteristics such as straps, safety or adhesive tape, and dirt can also be detected. Using the Vision Scan Tunnel can also simplify downstream processes considerably.

KNAPP Vision Scan Tunnel

The KNAPP group has a comprehensive portfolio of automatic and semi-automatic systems for packing and securing goods for transport, guaranteeing both high quality and security. The following selection of systems has been developed for packing and securing goods for transport:

  • Bagging machine
  • Pallet wrapper
  • Banding machine
  • Strapping machine
  • Shrink wrapper
KNAPP pallet wrapper