MODEX 2018: New Matthews Autonomous Mobile Robots Support Cluster Picking in Order Fulfillment Operations

Combining autonomous robotic vehicles from Guidance Automation and light-directed order picking modules from Lightning Pick, the new solution—on display in MODEX Booth B3763—boosts zone-based pickers’ throughput while minimizing their travel.

WILSONVILLE, OR (March 17, 2018) — Making its debut in Matthews Automation Solutions’ Booth B3763 at MODEX, the new Matthews Autonomous Mobile Robot, equipped with a light-directed Cluster Picking Attachment, will be featured. The new solution—built with Lightning Pick and Guidance Automation technologies—increases light-directed, zone-based cluster picking productivity without the need for conveyors, sleds or picking carts. The robots automatically travel with operators from zone to zone as picks are completed. This synchronized interaction between pick-to-light systems, robots and operators enables employees to concentrate on their core task—order picking. The will be on display throughout MHI-sponsored MODEX in Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center, April 9–12, 2018.

“The new Matthews Autonomous Mobile Robot takes our proven LP Cart and Light Sled systems to the next level by eliminating the need for them to be manually pushed by an operator from one picking area to another,” explains Jim Bast, Vice President and General Manager of Lightning Pick. “Like those products, the attachment hardware atop the robot can be customized with a variety of shelf and put indicator light configurations. But the core benefit is that the solution acts as a ‘picker assistant,’ relieving them of additional, non-picking tasks—such as travel away from pick zones to deliver completed orders—and instead making pickers much more productive.”

Directed by Lightning Pick software, each robot carries multiple totes or shipping cartons on the cluster picking attachment. Each tote may represent a specific customer, store or department within a store. To start the process, the robot positions itself in an active pick zone for easy operator access. Next, the order is scanned, prompting pick-to-light modules mounted on each storage shelf or rack to illuminate and indicate the first stock-keeping unit (SKU) required for picking.

Simultaneously, lights on the cluster picking attachment illuminate under each container requiring that item and indicate the quantity needed of that SKU. Once all picks of the first SKU are complete, the operator presses a button to tell the software the task is finished. This triggers the next required SKU for the order to illuminate on both storage rack and under destination cartons. The process repeats until all picks in that zone are executed. Then the robot automatically follows the operator to the next zone to continue picking.

Once all picks are complete, the robot navigates its picked cartons to pack-out stations for order consolidation, packaging and shipment. Meanwhile another robot arrives so the picker can continue to work, uninterrupted.

“Matthews’ Lightning Pick and Guidance Automation teams brought their expertise in light-directed picking system and autonomous mobile robotics together to deliver a truly integrated and advanced order fulfillment solution,” adds Bast. “We’re really excited to offer order fulfillment operations a new way to increase their picking productivity without needing to add more labor to achieve higher rates of accuracy and throughput.”

Traveling autonomously throughout an operation, the Matthews Autonomous Mobile Robot uses natural feature navigation (also known as contour or landmark navigation), making it ideal for more dynamic warehouse and manufacturing facilities. It deploys 2D laser scanning of fixed points within the environment, mapping its path instead of utilizing reflectors, tape or other targets to maneuver. This function enables the robot to be a quick, low cost solution that easily accommodates physical changes in the facility layout—unlike target-based systems that need new reflective marks located, fixed and surveyed to adapt to operational modifications.

Because the robot’s navigation system has been fully integrated with Lightning Pick software, total, real-time communication between the picking system and robot fleet management is ensured. This process will be demonstrated at MODEX, where the Matthews Autonomous Mobile Robot will execute cluster picking with LP Pick, then travel to drop off cartons for further sortation, packing or other processing.

“Matthews Autonomous Mobile Robots let companies maintain high levels of customer satisfaction while retaining maximum flexibility in workflows to achieve greater throughput,” explains Peter Moore, Commercial Manager at Guidance Automation. “They allow the real intelligence—us humans—to do the challenging, value-added jobs that can’t be easily automated, while the robots take up the donkey work and reduce repetitive task errors.”

For more information, contact Joe Pelej, Marketing Manager, Fulfillment Systems at Matthews Automation Solutions at [email protected], 262.250.2143, or visit matthewsautomation.com.

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ABOUT MATTHEWS AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS

Matthews Automation Solutions—a division of Matthews International Corporation—provides integrated hardware and software solutions that streamline processes, boost throughput and solve global supply challenges for manufacturers and distributors worldwide. For automation challenges in manufacturing, packaging, fulfillment or distribution, Matthews’ combined expertise delivers the integrated solution that meets an organization’s needs today, and grows with them tomorrow. The Matthews Fulfillment Systems family of brands includes Compass Engineering, Guidance Automation, Holjeron, Lightning Pick, Pyramid and RAF Technology.

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