Time to automate your operations? Think robots. (But think about software first.)

The most critical part of automation, and the one that will determine if this expensive robotic arm will ultimately pay off its (significant) investment, is the software that powers it.

Time to automate your operations?  Think robots.  (But think about software first.)

Article by | PLUS ONE ROBOTICS

When warehouse managers think about automation, they correctly envision robotic arms and machines that use novel grippers and pickers to move items from one location to another. And these things are important. But the most critical part of automation, and the one that determines whether this expensive robotic arm will ultimately deliver a return on its (significant) investment, is the software that powers it.

If you are planning to automate part of your operation, it is just as important to carefully consider your software solution as choosing the best robot for your application.

It’s a daunting task. It’s far easier to look at the hardware and understand exactly what you need than to consider the far-reaching impact your software choices could have on your throughput, operational efficiency and bottom line. The software must be adaptable and intelligent, and it must also enable the people in the warehouse to continue working efficiently. Because while robots work, humans rule.

This philosophy has been the driving force behind Plus One Robotics from the very beginning as we developed the PickOne and Yonder software solutions to increase warehouse throughput without increasing the need for an already limited workforce to perform these tasks.

“The goal is to help people reach value-added positions in the warehouse by developing software that is smart enough to know that no hardware and software solution will be perfect on its own,” said Erik Nieves, CEO. “Robots are useful tools, but like any tool, they work best under human supervision. Plus One’s software solutions are designed to optimize the application of human intelligence and robotic expertise in an industry facing severe labor shortages, growing throughput and space requirements.”

What does the Plus One Robotics software do?

There are several applications for the Plus One Robotics software suite, each of which can be customized to meet the specific needs of your application. The software uses 3D vision capabilities and artificial intelligence coupled with machine learning to handle tasks such as picking items from containers and placing them on conveyor belts, receiving and unpacking pallets of various shapes and sizes (Plus One’s solution allows robotic arms to “see” and depalletize mixed pallets up to eight feet high, significantly taller than many software applications allow) and remove items from segmented bins.

All of these tasks have several things in common that make them easy for humans but ripe for automation. They are repetitive and somewhat predictable, which is one of the reasons warehouse managers responsible for these tasks struggle to keep an engaged workforce and experience high turnover rates.

Exceptions make the difference

Imagine a mixed pallet arriving at your warehouse to be depalletized and shifted to be shipped the same day. The PickOne Perception Kit starts by mapping the items, analyzing 2D, 3D and AI data to command the robot how best to pick each item and place it on the conveyor. Once an item is placed, PickOne will review the placement or take corrective action to ensure each placement is completed successfully.

Of course, there are times when the imaging software can’t verify the best picking points – this often happens around the holidays, when manufacturers are using more reflective and shiny packaging that challenges the cameras (and when warehouse demand is at its peak and throughput is even bigger). critical).

In cases where the PickOne-controlled robot isn’t sure what to do, it sends a real-time alert to a remote Crew Chief, who uses Plus One’s Yonder remote monitoring software to assess the situation and control the robot. This real-time exception handling is key to accelerating throughput and adapting to warehouse variability. Not only does the human-in-the-loop get things back on track quickly and prevent unnecessary downtime, but the software learns from every human interaction, building its knowledge of how to handle such situations in the future and increasing productivity steadily in a short period of time.

Plus One Robotics has not only developed the highest throughput solution in the industry, but also the highest quality systems. By pairing PickOne with Yonder, our partners’ robots can handle the endless variations in warehouse applications, using human intelligence to make critical decisions about the kind of edge cases that wreak havoc with AI-based solutions alone. This creates a truly fault-tolerant software system that is unparalleled in the materials handling industry.

hardware works. Thanks to software.

Our partners develop amazing hardware applications to help packaging and shipping organizations like yours meet the ever-increasing demands of e-commerce, and Plus One Robotics looks forward to continuing to innovate the software that enables these applications to continuously increasing capacity and performance.

The combination of the software from Plus One Robotics and the hardware solutions from our industrial partners has proven itself:

  • Free up 7-10 human workers per shift to do value-added work instead of routine and repetitive tasks
  • Reduce turnover by improving job satisfaction
  • Reduce the cost per processed unit
  • Reduce time-consuming exceptions by more than 50%
  • Reclaim more than 10,000 square feet of accumulation conveyor floor space that is no longer needed

To learn more about the variety of Plus One Robotics software solutions and how they can help you in your automation efforts, or to talk to someone about becoming an integration partner, contact us at hello@plusonerobotics.com.

The content and opinions in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of RoboticsTomorrow

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