Archives for September 2017

Material handling gets automated; film at 11

By Ben Ames | September 18, 2017 | 7:14 AM

Our readers know better than anyone about the rapid flow of pallets and parcels through the nation’s supply chain nodes. But nothing can demonstrate the speed of material handling quite like a movie.

Several major logistics players have released film clips in recent weeks that show the amazing potential of automated material handling to accelerate the flow of goods through worksites from ports to warehouses.

California’s Port of Los Angeles recently completed a $103 million renovation of its TraPac terminal, helping the busy port increase its imports of twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) boxes from 4.1 million in 2015 to 4.5 million in 2016, recent figures show.

In a 1 minute, 58 second-film clip, port officials show how containers are offloaded from cargo vessels by manually operated ship-to-shore cranes, and then turned over to the automated system. First they are handled by wheeled autostraddle carriers, which hand the containers off to automatic stacking cranes, which in turn sort and organize the containers before dropping them gently onto waiting trucks.

A second video gives viewers a 2 minute, 8 second tour of an automated Amazon.com Inc. warehouse in Florence, N.J. Published by The New York Times, the film shows the facility’s progression from the use of manual palletizing to robotic palletizers. Warehouse employees now work as team members with the robots just as they do with their human colleagues, a worker explains.

This clip also offers a cool, 360-degree feature, allowing any viewer to click and drag on the screen to pan the camera around to see every corner of the cavernous, bustling DC in motion.

Finally, a 51-second clip shows an automated shopping basket called the Regi-Robo, now being tested in Japanese grocery stores. The system is designed to eliminate long checkout lines by using sensors in the basket to scan RFID tags on every item selected, and ringing up the total as a shopper walks the aisles.

Automation is advancing fast throughout the supply chain, and now these new robots are ready to take their publicity shots.


The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

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