Three innovative warehouse robotics startups to watch

The machines are coming, and your warehouse is going to be very thankful.

While Amazon’s 2012 purchase of Kiva Systems seems to be perpetually on the minds of many, there’s plenty of innovation in the space that should keep warehouse professionals reading and researching.

We’re presenting three that offer some advanced functionality and seem to place an emphasis on better picking, better working with employees, and expanding capabilities without needing a lot of extra space. Here are just three to consider.

1. Fetch Robotics

With a foundation in robotics, the team behind Fetch Robotics has developed two styles of robots that work very well when it comes to material handling and data collection.

Fetch landed on our list because of how well the autonomous mobile robots work in conjunction with humans. One robot is designed to pick while the second helps workers who are picking by carrying goods and scurrying away to a shipping station when the pick is complete.

The robots come with a simple workflow and monitoring system plus the ability to fully integrate with most warehouse management systems, giving you more opportunity for real-time visibility and control of the platform.

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Fetch Robotics places a big emphasis on delivering a system that’s safe to run in your warehouse without having to reduce staff or vehicles. The smart robots offer flexible configurations that can be up and actively assisting your team within a few hours of deployment.  

2. Locus Robotics

Locus Robotics made it on the list because of the simplicity of its user interface plus a variety of modes to work in tandem with workers in different settings, but without significant changes needed to your existing warehouse layout.

The LocusBots™ can operate independently and actively learn efficient travel routes based on your specific warehouse, which the company says means you can increase productivity by 2x to 5x compared to traditional cart picking.

Users say integrating its LocusServer™ with your WMS is relatively simple and involves minimal time or adjustments. Robots are connected via Wi-Fi and continuously report back to the server so that the system will learn inventory levels, routes, and other metrics to make operational efficiency changes and advancements.

3. InVia Robotics

InVia Robotics offers a goods-to-box solution that is a smart choice for automating e-commerce order fulfillment. The brand says its Picker robot can work with goods that range from packs of gum or delicate jewelry to bulky cases of drinks, with quick delivery.

The platform can also turn Pickers into small, automated storage and retrieval units when that makes the most sense for your layout and WMS. The Runner model enables the Picker to deliver goods throughout a warehouse to maximize picking. Runners can also work with human pickers when you need a more custom picking and delivery option.

Again, we’re placing an emphasis on brands that have easy integration with existing WMS to make daily operations run more smoothly. This platform runs smoothly with most existing platforms and offers accessibility from a variety of smart devices. A mix of pre-made modules and a smart API mean it should be a relatively quick installation and sync with what’s already running.

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Geoff Whiting

About the author…

Geoff is an experienced journalist, writer, and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce, and supply chain development. Outside of the office he can be found toying with the latest in IoT, searching for classic radio broadcast recordings, and playing the perpetual tourist in his home of Washington D.C.

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Geoff Whiting

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