Autonomous mobile robots boost safety and efficiency

NP Fulfilment has achieved operational efficiency and improved safety in its smart warehouse in Sydney, with the implementation of Konica Minolta’s MiR autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). NP Fulfilment is a leader in order fulfilment for national and international businesses, with hundreds of online retailers, direct sellers and e-commerce organisations using it to pick, pack and ship their orders every day. An existing customer of Konica Minolta, NP Fulfilment drew upon the trusted partnership between the two organisations to purchase two MiR200 AMRs.

The MiR200 is a safe, cost-effective mobile robot that quickly automates internal transportation and logistics. The robots optimise workflows to free up staff, increasing productivity and reducing operational costs. Konica Minolta developed a latching module for the MiR200, giving it the capability to latch onto NP Fulfilment’s shelving systems with wheels. Once full, the MiR200 transports the shelving system, picks up an empty shelving system, and then parks the empty trolley in an available spot on the way back to pick up the next full trolley.

Jey Kanagaratnam, CIO of NP Fulfilment, noted that a rapid increase in online shopping prompted the organisation to look at ways to further speed up picking at the Sydney warehouse, while ensuring employee safety and efficiency. “To achieve this, NP Fulfilment has transformed warehousing by accelerating and using the most advanced technology in the logistics industry, including our propriety 3PL warehouse management system that we have built from the ground up. Turning to technology was a no-brainer. It was also important for NP Fulfilment to work with organisations that have an innovation mindset,” said Kanagaratnam.

Matthew Hunter, Innovation Product Marketing Manager at Konica Minolta, said the organisation has experienced a rapid growth in robotics, particularly in the warehouse and logistics sector, as the industry moves to smart warehousing. Hunter added that the MiR200 AMRs minimise unnecessary movement around warehouses, thereby saving worker time. “With the MiR200s handling the movement of trolleys, workers are kept in a focused area of the warehouse where they can add the most value, rather than travelling back and forth to move trolleys. Less movement also means lower risk of accidents, which is critical for NP Fulfilment in meeting its safety requirements,” said Hunter.

Alongside speeding up the process, the MiR200s enhance NP Fulfilment’s ability to capture the movement of the product at each stage in the logistics life cycle, including how long it spends at each stage and the time it takes to get from one stage to another. “This means key performance indicators can be monitored at each and every level, providing insight to make improvements that can be passed on to NP Fulfilment’s customers,” said Kanagaratnam.

Image credit: © Soppelsa

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