More robots will become fulfillment centers’ model employees.
With Amazon’s 100,000-plus robotic drive units a big part of its fulfillment-center secret sauce, rivals are eager to employ their own robots to help fulfill growing online orders faster.
Tompkins Robotics, for example, has introduced its own t-Sort robotic drive units that can sort individual items to help retailers cut the order processing time. Four of the top 15 U.S. retailers are its customers, Tompkins Robotics President Mike Futch said, declining also to specify. Some of its retail customers also are looking at deploying those robotic devices in the backrooms of their supercenters to fulfill same-day or next day delivery orders from stores. “We are growing tremendously,” Futch said. “Some retailers have decades-old technology on a fixed- track big loop.”
To be sure, Tompkins’ robotic unit is different from Amazon’s, which has the ability to move and navigate entire shelf of a mix-match of products.
In response to COVID-19 and limiting travel, Tompkins Robotics is now offering interactive virtual tours using a variety of stationary and roaming cameras throughout the facility. We have the capability to demonstrate five t-Sort systems with various configurations, robots and functionalities. The main demonstration system includes three different induction types: manual, robotic and A-frame. Our systems are capable of e-commerce order fulfillment, store replenishment, backroom and parcel / postal sortation. We can demonstrate the original t-Sort robotic system in multiple dual level configurations and an elevator system to move robots between the levels. Our larger t-Sort Plus robots run on single level systems with both tilt tray and crossbelt options. In the very near future we will demonstrate the new t-Sort Mini in an additional system. We have a wide variety of inventory to demonstrate products including general merchandise, apparel, grocery, fragile goods, odd sizes and shapes and a wide range of product weights. You will also have a chance to learn about the technologies that are integrated into our system such as automated induction, automated charging, integrated weight and dimension capture, our proprietary wireless network and Warehouse Execution System (WES), new innovations such as our automated sorter exit solution and more. And if mobility and flexibility are important to you, we can demonstrate how easy it is to reconfigure a system, remove or add a sort table, and even fold a table into a smaller footprint for move or transport.