Author Topic: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation  (Read 3380 times)

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Offline coppice

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2019, 10:31:57 pm »
While the tech seems impressive, I don't understand how the robot takes individual items out of the basket? At one point the robot can be seen taking up entire basket up into itself, so what happens next?
I think that's when an entire order has been accumulated in the basket, and its being taken off to dispatch.
 
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2019, 10:51:36 pm »
While the tech seems impressive, I don't understand how the robot takes individual items out of the basket? At one point the robot can be seen taking up entire basket up into itself, so what happens next?

Its either hand picked into plastic bags or taken to a packing station where its automated: https://internetofbusiness.com/ocado-robots-hands-packing-shopping/

I think this one is a fulfillment center (customer orders), but they can also do this process to restock retail outlets.
Every week you'd get an order from say "joes corner grocery", we need: 20x can pop, 50x cat food, 20x box rice, then you'd pack up those items and ship to their store via pallet or perhaps in these bins. I used to do this and everything was ultra low-tech, routing was entirely up to the picker, these robots would be much faster than me. Most of the time was spent moving from one end of the warehouse to the other.

 
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Offline nosmoke

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2019, 11:34:56 pm »
This is one of SwissLog's "AutoStore" miniload systems, See a video here: and here:

SwisSlog seems to specialise in miniload systems, they have various different types, all moving and storing the small plastic totes.

The way these systems tend to work, is that the robot doesn't have anything to do with the contents of the tote, they just fetch a tote from the store and bring it to an operator, who picks items for a order from the tote, and the system takes it away again.

While very space efficient, the swisslog system shown, can only access a tote on the top of the stack - if you want one further down, then you have to "dig" for it, and put the ones on top, somewhere else, first. - Dig moves are "expensive" in any ASRS, so you try and store stock to avoid them.
 
The order picker has a conveyor in front of them carrying the boxes that they are placing items into, a screen tells them what item to take from the tote, and what box to put it into.
That is a so-called "Goods to Man" system, very common for small item picking.

Amazon recently bought Kiva systems that do similar system, where robots drive under sets of free standing shelves and take them to the order pickers.

Source: I used to work for one of SwissLog's competitors, they do large scale automated pallet stores, amongst other things.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 11:37:03 pm by nosmoke »
 
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Offline Domagoj T

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2019, 07:16:28 am »
Oh, that makes much more sense.
Thanks
 

Offline m0

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2019, 02:02:44 pm »
Coming to a warehouse near you...
https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-ocado-coles-deal/ocado-teams-up-with-australias-coles-in-latest-partnership-deal-idUKKCN1R702B

Deals with Grocers such as Coles (Australia), Kroger (USA), Sobeys (Canada) and a few across Europe will see these warehouses all over the world!
list of clients here: https://www.ocadosolutions.com/
 

Offline schmitt trigger

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2019, 03:00:07 pm »
Nosmoke;
thanks for the insightful information.

The future has indeed arrived.

I am going to make a dumb question: In addition to unskilled laborers doing the few menial tasks that robots do not yet perform, what job opportunities exist in those warehouses?
Programmers?
Automation engineers?
Electronic Technicians?

Not for my benefit, but to provide advice to my grandsons.
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2019, 12:07:23 pm »
Are those red robos more fire proof than the ocado ones?
I like the idea of the ocado robots more, Each one takes up only a single space instead of 2.

I also do not understand why a vat of 300m3 CO2 would be "impractical". It is a very minor thing for an warehouse of this size.

But it does not tackle the hart of the problem.
Such a dense stack of flammable stuff as the warehouse itself should not be built.
Instead: Each robot runs on rails, and a set of rails is a few centimeters wide.
Those few centimeters are enough to add fireproof layers between each stack of goods.
In that case, if any fire breaks out, it will be contained in a single stack of containers, or at least spread very slowly which gives the firemen plenty of time to react.

The next step would be to make some kind of lid on each stack of boxes, which is opened by the robot as it dives on top of it (Some kind of extenable pin on the underside of each robot)
If the rest of the stack is air tight this will severely limit oxygen supply to a stack of burning goods.
The lid itself does not have to be air tight. It works with the same principle as the sigarette bins at the entrance of buildings.
Rising hot air of something burning prevents fresh air from going down the "chimney".

Also, the horror scenario of a burning robot driving around and setting the whole warehouse on fire is undoubtly a beginners error in this sort of warehouse and will be completely eliminated in the next version.
 

Online Gyro

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2019, 01:47:15 pm »
^^^ Maybe you should email them with suggestions.  Ocado have just announced that they're rebuilding the Andover site - bigger!  :)
Chris

"Victor Meldrew, the Crimson Avenger!"
 

Offline Nauris

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2019, 07:29:13 pm »
Local supermarket co-op here build a big automated warehouse recently. It is from Witron, does not use robots but more traditional automation just lots and lots of it.

They have quite good video showing how it works from goods recieving to dispatch.
 

Offline MrMobodies

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2019, 05:26:58 am »
I see they have some serial ports on them:

SAFETY OVERRIDE
COMMS
 

Online Ed.Kloonk

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2019, 06:18:19 am »
I wonder how much of all this could have been circumvented if only the shelf packers packed the shelves instead of smoking near the loading zone.

 

Online Ed.Kloonk

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2019, 06:19:13 am »
I see they have some serial ports on them:

SAFETY OVERRIDE
COMMS

Was wondering about that also.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Insane Robotic Warehouse Automation
« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2019, 07:07:54 am »
I know this is an old thread, but according to the BBC, the sprinkler system was  an award winning design.
In Oz, we have had plenty of warehouse fires, & in many cases, the old style "non-award winning" sprinkler system saved the building & equipment.
The stock was often not so lucky, but was usually saleable in some form or the other.

I have been a unbeliever in "award winning designs", ever since, many years ago, I ventured into a tool store to buy  a "centre punch".
They had a nice one, made in Britain, & recipient of the "Duke of Ediburgh's Export Award".
It was a thing of beauty, complete with a Teflon finger grip, a fancy blister pack, & so on.

The first time I used it, the tip broke off & flew across the room.

I still needed a centre punch, so I went to the local hardware store, where they had a box of Australian made ones on the shelf.
No fancy pack, no brand name, no award, no Teflon, no Duke, but it lasted me for years "rattling around" in the bottom of my toolbox.

More "on topic", even if a fault was not caused by a machine fault, life & packaging has its own little traps.

Even further in antiquity, I worked in a Electronics wholesaler.
The Electrical Department, two benches away, sold, along, with all the multiple delights suggested by their name, Eveready Lantern Batteries (the squarish ones with two spring contacts on top.).
They would from time to time get warranty returns of these batteries, test them, & dump the faulty ones in the "bin."

This place was a bit Dickensian, & the bin, shared by the "Radio' & Electrical Departments, consisted of a large "tea chest", into which all the detritus of daily work was deposited, including used wrapping paper & plastic, as well as the aforesaid "lantern batteries.

By pure luck, I noticed a small wisp of smoke coming from the bin.
Much panic, as we tipped it out, stomping upon the burning material, & finding two supposedly "dead" lantern batteries in an +ve to -ve, -ve to +ve "embrace", getting hotter & hotter by the second!

Such batteries are still stocked at many department stores.
Some have a substantial plastic "cap" covering each spring, but others rely on a much thinner & more brittle piece of plastic covering both springs.
I have seen that style, with the "piece of plastic" either missing, or cracked, revealing either or both spring contacts.
 
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