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t-Sort and t-Sort Plus

Scalable, Rapid, and Cost-Effective

Game-changing automation is now easier than ever to deploy in your facility

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20 Most Promising Robotics Solution Providers - 2019

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t-Sort and t-Sort Plus

Mobile, Flexible, and Portable

The world’s first portable, automated material handling sortation system

Material Handling

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About Us

Tompkins Robotics, a business unit of Tompkins International, is a leading provider of autonomous mobile robot (AMR) solutions. The company has developed and deployed the world’s first, portable automated sortation system, t-Sort, a revolutionary unit and parcel sortation system that is patented for North America and Europe. This new and innovative robotic technology helps build world-class supply chains while providing unmatched flexibility and throughput. Our systems accomplish volumes ranging from small operations in the backroom of a supercenter or mall anchor store to large fulfillment centers processing millions of units a day.

With two models, t-Sort and t-Sort Plus, and two sortation methods, tilt trays and cross belts, Tompkins Robotics systems can handle items as small as a penny to up to 40 inches long by 30 inches wide and weighing up to 120 pounds. The fast, efficient and modular unit and parcel sortation systems can handle a wide variety of product unmatched by traditional sortation solutions. Given the unique flexibility and scalability of this application, t-Sort installations have proliferated since its first implementation in 2018 and continue to rapidly grow year over year.

Watch the video below to learn more about the robust applications and unique capabilities of the t-Sort system.

Solution

Revolutionizing Unit and Parcel Sortation

t-Sort is a game-changing unit and parcel sortation system that performs much like a tilt tray or crossbelt sorter without a fixed track, allowing independent robots to travel freely to any divert or induction station along the shortest path, greatly enhancing efficiency and maximizing operational capabilities.  Unlike traditional sortation systems that require a large upfront investment and have excess capacity that may be underutilized for years, the t-Sort system is fully modular and allows robots, chutes or induction stations to be added or removed instantaneously without any interruption or downtime.  A typical installation takes six months or less to go live, and the completely portable system can be collapsed or set up in minutes and relocated to another location overnight, providing an added level of versatility.

The World’s First Portable, Automated Unit & Parcel Sortation System

Plus

t-Sort
t-Sort Plus

t-Sort Specifications

Robot Speed
Up to 2 m/s
Payload
5 kg
Standard Tray
16” x 14”
Large Tray
26” x 18”
Sort Control
Variable tilt angle and speed
Induction
Manual or Robotic
Robot Run Time
3 - 4 hours per charge
Charge Time
5 - 8 minutes

t-Sort Plus Specifications

Robot Speed
Up to 1.5 m/s
Payload
30 kg and 55 kg models
Belt Size
(2) 9” x 19” or (1) 19” x 19”
Max Load Size
19” x 40”
Sort Control
Independent belts
Induction
Manual or Automated
Robot Run Time
3 - 4 hours per charge
Charge Time
5 - 8 minutes

Advantages

  • Maximum efficiency – Robot navigation via real-time control to ensure movement along the most efficient path.
  • Space utilization – Requires 25 percent or less space when compared to traditional sortation systems.
  • Labor productivity – High sort density in compact space results in larger batches for greater picking efficiency and productivity.
  • Complete modularity – Robots can be easily added at any time to increase throughput and all system components are modular for simple expansion and reconfiguration.
  • Ultimate flexibility – Unit and parcel sortation can be used separately or simultaneously, and the system is fully portable, configurable and scalable with no fixed infrastructure or permitting.
  • Lower capital investment – Robots cost 40 to 50 percent less than a traditional tilt tray or crossbelt system and can be purchased and installed as needed to postpone investment and enable complete utilization of the asset.
  • High capacity – Multi-level design can more than double the volume, sort points and capacity in a single footprint.
  • Faster startups – Implementation is six months or less as compared to a typical lead time of 12+ months for traditional fixed track systems.
  • Higher ROI – Lower investment, shorter lead times, faster implementation, reduced space, lower headcount, and incremental expansion/capital expenditures – all drive greater than 2X increase in ROI.
  • Redundancy & risk mitigation – No single point of failure anywhere in the system. The system has mirrored servers, redundant infrastructure and an uninterruptable power supply backup.

Robotics Range of Capabilities

  • Wide Range of Unit Handling – The variety of unit loads t-Sort can process is much broader than traditional sortation systems.  This includes apparel, shoe boxes, general merchandise, shipping bags and small-to-medium boxes.  t-Sort offers multiple tray designs, optimized for different products, that can be easily changed.  t-Sort can handle anything traditional unit sorters process and more.
    • t-Sort can process delicate, cylindrical, round, extremely light, liquid, static prone, and other difficult items for tilt tray, crossbelt and bomb bay sorters. t-Sort is even capable of sorting glass containers and other fragile, breakable items.
    • t-Sort can sort individual items with varying speed and/or angle of divert based on the product characteristics or handling requirements. As the item is loaded, the system identifies the item and the required method to optimally sort the item. This unique capability is not available in typical systems in use today.
    • The items found in a retail store can be sorted in a special store-based mode for buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) and local e-commerce orders. Most grocery and retail merchandise items are sortable with t-Sort.
    • The t-Sort Plus model can handle larger loads with weights up to 120 pounds, further expanding the range of sortable products.
  • Wide Range of Sortation Destination – As each robot makes a complete stop at the sort destination, t-Sort can perform a positive and accurate sort to a variety of destinations, including shipping cartons, totes, gravity conveyor lines, chutes, bags, and gaylords. Additionally, the destination receptacle/accumulation device and system configuration can be customized to a client’s specific requirements to ensure the design best fits the application.
  • Ease of Configuration and Expansion – All components are modular, allowing the system to grow and increase its operational functionality as needed. This includes easily expanding the number of robots, sort points and induction stations, and reconfiguring the system size, shape and sort functions.

Robotics Range of Applications

  • e-commerce Fulfillment – t-Sort facilitates a large batch pick of high SKU operations, allowing greater pick productivity than a put wall operation. The system also provides sortation to an individual order as opposed to a batch of orders sorted to a single location, eliminating a secondary sort. This design provides a superior unit sortation process compared to traditional fixed track systems.
  • Store Replenishment – Robots sort both directly into a store-bound container or to chutes for pack out. The system can continuously track contents, cube and weight to effectively direct container closure and ensure that outbound cube is minimized.
  • Retail Location Backroom Sorter – t-Sort is world’s first portable, modular, automated system for item and parcel sortation in the backroom of a retail store. The backroom system:
    • Facilitates inbound sortation of mixed containers to aisles for more efficient shelf stocking.
    • Enhances e-commerce order processing by allowing store batch picking by department and automated, accurate and efficient order consolidation.
    • Facilitates BOPIS in the same manner as e-commerce orders to allow fast processing and minimize labor and store aisle congestion.
    • Automates order consolidation, increasing customer service levels and decreasing labor requirements.
    • System can also sort parcels to route to originating post offices for local e-commerce shipments, allowing next-day delivery at the lowest cost.
  • Parcel Sortation – t-Sort provides a flexible and expandable parcel sortation solution that can handle mailers, bags and cartons on the same system.  Items can be sorted directly to postal bags, various size gaylords or accumulation lanes for palletizing.
  • Returns/Inbound Sortation – t-Sort is highly effective for returns and loose item sortation/consolidation in receiving.  Sortation can be to the SKU, vendor or other defined levels for a given client.
  • Large DC/FC – A single t-Sort system can sort up to 750,000 units a day and multiple systems can be integrated in a single facility.  Systems provide hundreds to thousands of sort locations and can be used for e-commerce, store replenishment, returns and other flows simultaneously.
  • Small DC/FC – t-Sort’s lower cost, modularity, phased installation capabilities, labor reductions and performance allow smaller companies and operations to benefit from automation.  A client can start with a small system and grow it each year through expansion.
  • Supplement Existing Sites – When existing automation has reached capacity, a small t-Sort system can be added to a site with minimal disruption, eliminating the need to make a significant upfront investment in money and time.

Tompkins Robotics System Intelligence

The t-Sort system is powered by the Tompkins Warehouse Execution System (tWES), which eases the implementation through its quickly configurable design and is highly flexible with the ability to interface with a variety of host systems.  Benefits of tWES include:

  • Cloud-based system minimizes IT hardware requirements.
  • Real-time dashboards, tools, and labor feedback provide continuous insight into current operations.
  • Provides many standard reports and analytics to assist any operation in maximizing the benefits of t-Sort.
  • Supports waveless picking and intelligent batching to drive efficient picking processes.
  • Dynamic chute assignment algorithm ensures effective use of robots and efficient chute turnover.
  • Standard API and a proven track record of interfacing to a variety of WMS and host systems over the past 20 years.

t-Sort, combined with tWES, will help further evolve supply chain automation, improving the efficiency of logistics operations.  t-Sort is a highly effective solution for automated order fulfillment with the flexibility to sort both units to complete an order and parcels for shipping operations.  The system’s unique flexibility and wide range of capabilities improve the flow of goods, labor productivity, operations planning, implementation, space utilization, use of capital and operating expenses, and ultimately, customer service. Watch the Tompkins Robotics videos to further understand the breadth of capabilities the t-Sort automated sortation system has to offer.

The t-Sort system’s unique design provides unheard of flexibility and enables a tremendous reduction in capital cost and space in the warehouse, compared to traditional automated sortation systems.  Join the ever-growing group of t-Sort users to experience lower and delayed investment, shorter lead times, faster implementation, reduced space and labor, and greater ROI.

Executive Team

The Tompkins Robotics leadership team includes some of the best minds in the industry.  Our experts have a wealth of knowledge and decades of hands-on experience improving supply chain performance and increasing profitability for a diverse range of companies, from small startups to big-box retailers.

Click on each leader’s photo to learn more.

Denny McKnight, an expert in global distribution strategy, has spent his 30 year career focusing on warehouse logistics, equipment, and technology, as well as overseeing the development of Tompkins’ proprietary robotic sortation systems and strategic partnerships. McKnight’s role as CEO of Tompkins Robotics has included involvement from the beginning, and he was instrumental in bringing the technology to market. He works with the leadership to develop and further partnerships, channels, markets, and applications for the t-Sort system and other, complimentary systems. McKnight’s extensive experience leading large-scale initiatives in facility re-engineering and new greenfield DC/FC design has given him unrivaled levels of insight into the best approaches and technologies for the modern distribution and fulfillment environment. As President of the Tompkins organization, he has been instrumental in creating the company’s vision of The Connected Warehouse®, where IoT-enabled equipment and building control systems harmonize with next-generation WES technology to create new levels of efficiency and supply chain transparency.

McKnight is a frequent speaker on various warehousing and logistics subjects, is quoted in top industry publications, and has contributed to several industry related books. In 2018, he was recognized by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as an industry “Pro - to - Know”.

Mike is the President and one of the original leaders that has created Tompkins Robotics and brought the t-Sort sortation system to life for global customers. t-Sort is the world's first robotic, truly scalable, portable, and intelligently adaptable automated sortation system that is changing the way firms execute in their supply chains. He has been involved from day one in the evolution of this unique and innovation system - recognizing the potential, designing the applications, and creating the value proposition for Tompkins Robotics' customers. He continues to lead the design and forward movement of the company. He drives much of the new application development, new product conceptualization, and the integration with partners solving unique problems with complimentary robotic automation. His focus is to deliver Tompkins Robotics and its systems to customers in North America and Europe to maximize their service, performance, and operations in ways never before thought possible. Mike spent his prior career doing supply chain consulting and implementations for customers in a range of industries, including Pharmaceutical, Retail, Food & Beverage, and Consumer Products. Mike has been highly successful in building long-term relationships based upon his personal involvement in successful implementations. He has achieved significant results for clients that have led to bottom line savings, higher levels of performance, enhanced service levels across the supply chain, and an increase in overall shareholder value. He now brings that same level of success to the leadership of Tompkins Robotics and its customers. His client list includes over 200 hundred firms during his prior career and at Tompkins Robotics. Mike's work history includes the US Air Force, Tompkins International, Garr Consulting and Deloitte Consulting, prior to becoming totally focused on Tompkins Robotics.

Bruce Baring is a Vice President with Tompkins Robotics and works with our clients to define requirements, develop solutions, and establish the business case for deploying our t-Sort solutions. t-Sort is the world's first robotic, truly scalable, portable, and intelligently adaptable automated sortation system that is changing the way firms execute in their supply chains. In the role of concept development, Baring brings a practical approach to creating the most flexible automated solution tailored to addressing our clients’ business needs as they evolve and grow to maximize their return on invested capital.

Baring began his supply chain consulting career with Tompkins in 1995 and has recently joined the Tompkins Robotics team after working for several other consulting and engineering firms. 

Throughout his career, Baring has helped companies across all industry verticals transform and improve their supply chain performance through network optimization, distribution center design, and the deployment of automated solutions.

Baring has a BSIE in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA for UNC-Greensboro.

Thompson Brockmann is an instrumental Tompkins Robotics team member.

Since joining Tompkins International in 1995, Brockmann has developed extensive experience in the design and implementation of distribution networks and fulfillment centers in eCommerce, 3PL, consumer goods, retail, and apparel. He has played lead roles in developing strategic master plans, justifying systems and equipment, detailed facility planning and specification, and managing the implementation process for clients.

In Brockmann’s current role as Vice President at Tompkins Robotics, he oversees the full life cycle, from solutions development post go-live owner transition of t-Sort, integrated material handling systems, and other automated solutions. Brockmann uses his over 20 years of experience in distribution and fulfillment system designs and implementation to deliver his clients with Tompkins Robotics solutions that maximize their service, performance, and operations in ways never before thought possible.

Brockmann received his B.S. and Master’s in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Jim Serstad, Vice President of Product Development ensures that Tompkins Robotics is always on the leading edge of warehouse robotics. He is responsible for developing the mechanical, electrical, and software elements of the t-Sort system.

Through several partnerships that Serstad developed with key robotics and material handling technologies, t-Sort integrates with upstream and downstream warehouse processes. He leads the internal efforts to take concepts from the drawing board to reality including the detail design, engineering, prototyping, testing, and finally the product commercialization, stabilization, certification, introduction, and refinement in the marketplace. He also oversees the writing and management of the many patents and patents pending that are held by Tompkins Robotics both in the US and globally.

Prior to joining Tompkins, Serstad managed the acquisition of a Flextronics factory, and subsequently was responsible for operations and business development. Upon joining Tompkins, he drove the expansion of the firm’s Asia practice into warehouse design and material handling equipment. During Serstad’s 15-year tenure in China, his team discovered a ground-breaking sortation technology. In 2016, he moved back to the US to help introduce this sorting technology to the US.

Serstad has a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, both from Purdue University.

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