DK Fulfilment (DKF) Ltd and Intelligent Robots have been awarded an Innovate UK grant to begin trials of an intralogistics robot transport system at DKF’s dedicated fulfilment facility in Coventry.
The trials are scheduled to begin in June and will see DKF install a fleet of Intelligent Robots’ RPUCK autonomous mobile conveyor robots at its 165,000 sq ft site.
The RPUCK model is described as ‘the world’s simplest conveyor robot’ and has been designed to reduce the time order picking staff spend pushing trolley loads around a store.
In simple terms, with RPUCK workers pick orders directly on to a trolley within a designated picking zone and, once a trolley is full, a robot delivers an empty trolley to the picker and takes the full load directly to the packing and dispatch area of the store.
Unlike other systems, RPUCK technology is simple to install and requires no laser or magnetic guidance methods.
Mark Elward, managing director of DK Fulfilment, commented: “Third party logistics (3PL) warehouses have traditionally been manually driven, but with the growth in online retail and the well-documented warehouse labour shortages, more and more 3PLs simply must consider automation as a way of improving operational efficiency, so we are delighted to be working with Intelligent Robots on this exciting trial.”
Zheng Lin, CEO, of Intelligent Robots, said: “So far robotic solutions have been technology rather than process driven, which we believe explains the lack of adoption we have seen – particularly in logistics. We want to turn this on its head by taking a fundamentally holistic approach to tackling business and technology challenges.
“The Innovate UK grant not only gives us the opportunity to validate that our approach is valuable for a wide range of businesses, but, under the guidance of DK Fulfilment, we believe the trial will support our belief that our product is a genuinely innovative solution.”
Innovate UK is the operating name of the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency. It award grants to help UK businesses realise the potential of new technologies, develop ideas and make them a commercial success.