Pick-to-pallet robotics

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Fetch Robotics and Körber have a new integrated case pick-to-pallet product.

It combines Fetch’s Freight500 and Freight1500 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) with Körber’s warehouse management systems, supporting case picking workflows for facilities of all sizes.

Warehouse needs have risen dramatically over the past year, as a surge in consumer spending has increased demands on distribution centres. Additionally, distribution organizations face longstanding labour challenges. This includes hiring and retaining skilled staff, accommodating seasonal fluctuations, and relying on temporary workers to operate forklifts. 

In a traditional case pick-to-pallet workflow, pickers spend the majority of their shifts driving a forklift or pulling a manual pallet jack around the warehouse to each location on their pick sheet or RF device. After arriving, the picker must manually find the correct product, execute the pick, return to the forklift or pallet jack, and travel to the next location until the entire pallet is complete.

While this model is widely used, it comes with extensive drawbacks. Often, it requires traveling long distances, minimizing the actual time spent picking, and leading to congestion in warehouse aisles as multiple pickers are using the same routes.

The new case picking solution from Fetch and Körber enables zone-based picking, which keeps employees in aisles and enhances picking across numerous orders. This workflow uses pick-path optimization from the Körber WMS, which directs AMRs to the correct locations in the correct sequence for optimal pallet build. This solution can be deployed via RF scanners, voice picking, or with vision-based picking solutions. 

Each year, over 11 percent of all forklifts are involved in an injury, and a single work site injury can cost facility owners an estimated US$150,000. Using AMRs in a zone picking environment allows DC operators to reduce reliance on manually operated forklifts, especially throughout congested areas.

While this new solution addresses case picking, Fetch’s AMRs can also be combined with Körber’s WMS for discrete order picking, batch picking, and replenishment.