Mobile Robot Assisted Order Fulfilment System
Wincanton approached Sorion to design a robot-assisted order fulfilment solution that enables them to pick, pack, and ship orders more quickly and efficiently.
These were the key areas they wanted to improve:
- Speed up the picking process and minimise errors by replacing the paper-based picking system
- Reduce the time that operators spent walking and looking for items
- Automate the transport of goods between the order allocation, picking and packing stations
Wincanton is a supply chain partner for many of the UK’s best-known companies, providing storage, handling and distribution, high volume eFulfilment, fleet and transport management.
After evaluating Wincanton’s business needs, Sorion designed a solution to help them reach their goal to create a faster and more reliable fulfilment operation.
The Sorion team deployed 6 MiR100 autonomous mobile robots at Wincanton. Each robot was fitted with specially engineered attachments to carry the totes.
The robots are managed by Sorion’s Fleetware management software. Fleetware integrates to the Wincanton’s existing Management System and orders are assigned to the most suitable robot to maximise productivity.
At the Order Allocation desk the operators are prompted to populate the robot with empty totes, then allocate an order number to each tote by scanning the barcode on the tote and delivery note.
Once the robots are populated with empty totes, the system sends them to the pick locations to meet the operators. The operators pick and place the items in totes based on instructions on the ProGlove wireless barcode scanner.
The ProGlove scanners allow the operators to pick hands-free. The display on the device indicates which shelf to pick from and which tote to place the item into. This helps to keep operators on task and spend less time searching for items.
Once picking is complete, the robots transport the items to the Packing area, where the system guides the operators through the unload and packing process.
Sorion’s Fleetware software tracks status events from the robot fleet, providing real-time reports to track performance and trace bottlenecks.
With the Sorion system, Wincanton is able to process orders faster, with the flexibility to seamlessly scale whenever they need to.
After the implementation of mobile robots Wincanton also experienced the following improvements:
- The system eliminates unproductive walking time and helps to quickly locate the pick items, making the operator’s job easier and faster
- Since the robots transport the items, operators can focus on picking as they no longer need to push carts
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