Closing the Automation Gap with Intralogistics Software
Sean MacPhee | 17 May 2023
Robotic order picking and sorting are becoming key technologies in warehouse automation and often provide huge advantages to distribution centers over more conventional order fulfillment methods. However, without a versatile WCS (warehouse control system) or WES (warehouse execution system), it can be difficult to integrate such technologies into a complex operation.
Bastian Solutions proven Exacta® intralogistics software has already performed successful integrations of these technologies with many more planned in projects to come. Those who attended ProMat 2023, just a few weeks ago, were able to see one of these systems in action at the Bastian Solutions booth.
A Comprehensive Fulfillment Solution
The ProMat innovative automation system featured an AutoStore high-density automated storage system that directly interfaced with both innovative technologies mentioned earlier: robotic picking and sortation.
Robotic Order Picking
At the AutoStore carousel pick port, Bastian Solutions SmartPick™ AI-powered piece picking robot quickly and accurately identified and retrieved the product needed, no training or programming needed. The custom EoAT (end of arm tool) safely placed the required product into a tote waiting on takeaway conveyor, that then transferred the tote onto a conveyor topped ML2 AV (autonomous vehicle).
Robotic Order Sortation
The ML2, carrying the customer order, traversed across the booth floor to a Tompkins Robotics tSort™ system and conveyed the tote onto an awaiting tilt tray-equipped mobile robot. This technology has been revolutionary since its inception, providing fast and effective sortation in a low cost, low space and low maintenance solution. The independently moving tSort robots distributed incoming products, bringing them to a divert station adjacent to the Bastian Solution SmartPick cell, where they were inducted back into the AutoStore.
Exacta WCS (warehouse control system) was a crucial component for designed system to not only operate successfully but for the flow to be efficient. It provided the tracking and management of pick orders from the AutoStore to the AI and vision platform of the robot, timing and routing of the conveyor, the ML2 and the tSort system.
This complex process flow with numerous levels of automation was made, simple, effective and straight forward with Exacta at the helm. The WCS coordinated material and information flow between the various islands of material handling equipment, allowing the system to run with higher autonomy. It was imperative that Exacta be able to integrate these solutions for overall system success.
Outside of the demonstrated configuration at ProMat, the modular nature of Exacta allows additional functionality to be easily added as the needs of the system or facility evolve. The WCS can coordinate multiple types of material handling equipment within one system for synchronized, high throughput processing.
Smarter, Better-Connected Operations
Companies looking to improve their material handling processes have a diverse range of innovative automation solutions to choose from but selecting the equipment is only one part of the equation. Partnering with an integration company that can provide or identify a versatile intralogistics software suite stretches your current investment and allows for the addition of new functionalities to support future needs.
Utilizing Exacta software, Bastian has integrated robotic sortation and picking technologies into seamless, efficient and cost-effective process flows that improve fulfillment operations, and ultimately customer satisfaction. Interested in learning more about any of the technology featured in our ProMat booth? Our experts can provide data-backed automation, software and process recommendations that solve today’s challenges and adapt to tomorrow’s changes.
Sean is a Logistics Consultant for Bastian Solutions’ software division based in Louisville, Kentucky. He works directly with customer technical teams, software engineering teams and other involved technical business units and integrators to design and implement compatible and effective software solutions. He has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from University of Kentucky.
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