OPEX®: Next Gen Automation Technology to Strengthen the Future of Warehouses
With continued changing markets and consumer needs, the need for warehouse automation has never been so dire. OPEX® has been a pioneer in developing innovative automation solutions that are highly scalable, low power consumption, future-proof and eliminate high initial capital investment. Bastian Solutions has worked with OPEX worldwide to develop a deep understanding of the technologies and effectively create smart warehouse solutions for clients.
We talked to Khurshed B. Mirza, OPEX Warehouse Automation Director for the APAC region, for a deeper insight on the technology and future of DC automation development. OPEX is a warehouse automation leader in the US and is progressively rolling out these technologies to the EU and APAC regions.
“There is no single point of failure in our equipment,” says Khurshed B. Mirza. “OPEX solutions have in-built redundancy that results in a significantly higher machine uptime than competitive solutions. OPEX solutions also consume significantly less electric energy when they run due to cutting edge environmental sustainability innovation.”
Q: The ability to scale operations is a big focus right now pandemic and market changes – investment capital, workforce availability and future planning. What kind of flexibility does OPEX technology bring?
OPEX has a range of innovative, globally patented warehouse automation solutions namely Sure Sort® automated sorting / order consolidating solution, as well as Perfect Pick® / Perfect Pick® HD automated goods to person picking solutions, are highly scalable so that it eliminates high initial capital investment and future-proofs the solution, enabling customers to adopt this innovative technology with a relatively low initial capital investment and our solutions can be easily & quickly scaled-up as the customer business grows.
OPEX Sure Sort can be easily scaled up by adding expansion modules to increase the sort locations. The sorting rate/throughput can be easily increased by adding iBOT®s, autonomous robotic vehicles.
OPEX Perfect Pick / Perfect Pick HD can be easily scaled up to increase the storage locations by adding expansion modules. The picking rate can be easily increased by adding iBOTs.
Q: Recently announced, Infinity™ is the newest technology announcement. Tell us, how did this solution emerge and what market challenge is this solution addressing?
The OPEX Infinity™ solution represents the next generation of goods to person technology to perfectly complement our existing warehouse automation solution offering. OPEX® Infinity™ goods-to-person technology is an ideal solution for multiple applications, including ecommerce, micro-fulfilment, store replenishment, and omni-channel distribution. Engineered for unlimited flexibility and scalability in throughput and storage, the Infinity system’s configurable racking design accommodates various site layouts and workflows to maximize your operation’s output. Powered by the OPEX Cortex™ software platform, the Infinity goods-to-person system significantly reduces reliance on labor, optimizing your operation from inventory management to order picking. The Infinity system uses iBOT vehicles that travel along and within a modular racking design. The iBOT robot delivers totes to decoupled presentation ports. The modular racks and iBOTs mean it’s easy to scale by adding more modules and robots. The Infinity iBOT robots can handle up to 70 pounds at a time. They also recharge with their ultra-capacitors as they navigate the system, meaning the iBOTs never need to be removed to recharge.
The OPEX INFINITY™ AS/RS resulted from our continuous innovation, where our focus is on engineering exciting new solutions that address unmet and evolving customer requirements. Designed for unlimited flexibility and scalability, the Infinity™ goods-to-person system has a modular racking structure that expands with additional modules, Infinity iBOTs, totes, and presentation ports based on the unique needs of our customer's operation and site footprint. The Infinity system’s unique zoned safety system allows users to take part of the grid down for maintenance while the rest of the system remains operational to limit downtime.
Ecommerce is growing exponentially. Companies today need dependable yet advanced technology, the resiliency to meet shifting and seasonal demands, fast and accurate fulfilment, the ability to maximize space, and a partner they can trust. OPEX and the Infinity solution deliver all of this and more. OPEX® Infinity™ goods to person technology is ideal for multiple applications, including ecommerce, micro-fulfilment, store replenishment, and omnichannel distribution. Engineered for unlimited flexibility and scalability in throughput and storage, the Infinity system’s configurable racking design accommodates various site layouts and workflows to maximize your operation’s output. Powered by the OPEX Cortex™ software platform, the Infinity goods-to-person system significantly reduces reliance on labour, optimizing your function from inventory management to order picking.
Q: What benefits and optimizations does OPEX technology bring to an operation?
OPEX solutions are highly scalable, have low running power consumption and it eliminates high initial capital investment and future-proofs the solution, enabling customers to adopt this innovative technology with a relatively low initial capital investment. OPEX solutions can be easily & quickly scaled-up as the customers’ business grows. The warehouse operation benefits extend to:
- In-built redundancy through high machine reliability, no single point of failure. Multiple iBOTs are running within an aisle.
- Scalability reduces initial capital investment and future-proofs the solution; it grows as the business grows.]
- Labor cost savings – Sure Sort automated put wall can sort up to 2,400 items per hour with 2 to 3 semi-skilled operators. Operators can be trained within 10-15 minutes to operate the Sure Sort and Perfect Pick. The Perfect Pick goods-to-person system can achieve a maximum picking rate of up to 1,000 order lines per hour with 2 semi-skilled operators.
- Enhanced picking efficiency in the warehouse through large batch sizes that can be picked to process through the Sure Sort sorter.
- Small footprint with many sort locations for Sure Sort and high-density storage volume for Perfect Pick HD.
- Accuracy of deliveries through reduction in costs relating to correcting of errors, reduction of emergency orders and overnight shipments due to errors
OPEX continues to innovate and develop next generation technologies. We proudly identify ourselves as custodians of the environment for the future generations, all our equipment is manufactured from 100% renewable solar powered electricity. Our innovative technology also ensures very low power consumption during the running of our equipment – a fraction of energy consumed as compared with competitive automation solutions. These could be deployed independently or as a combination to create micro-fulfilment centers that could be easily installed and operated within a very small warehouse footprint, optimizing the vertical height of the warehouse located close to densely populated city centres thus reducing the last mile cost.
We are also very passionate and committed towards ensuring a very high level of after-sales and customer service for all our installations across the globe. We have dedicated teams of service technicians and 24/7 customer support center.
OPEX works with our integrator partners, like Bastian Solutions, as a strong, cohesive team to consult, design and implements a total automation solution for our clients. We help clients automate part of their warehouse processes or provide a complete automation solution. Every client has a unique requirement, and we cater our solutions to exactly meet our clients’ needs. We help successfully transition our clients’ warehouses from fully manual operations to semi-automation or full automation. We form a sustainable, lifetime partnership with our clients.
Q: AS/RS and goods to person technology has come a long way. What is in the future for OPEX and warehouse automation? What should we be keeping our eye on?
OPEX prides itself in developing next-generation innovative technologies. The beauty is in its simplicity; there is no single point of failure in our equipment. There is in-built redundancy that results in a significantly higher machine uptime than competitive solutions. OPEX technologies also consume significantly less electric energy when they run. Typically, OPEX Sure Sort would consume around 2500W and OPEX Perfect Pick would consume around 5000W of electric power. We pride ourselves in developing cutting-edge environmentally sustainable technologies.
Warehouse automation is here to stay.
With the ever-increasing ecommerce demand and the consumers’ need for quick order turnaround times, automation is not a luxury but a necessity. The pandemic has shown us that whether it is low labour cost regions or high labour cost regions, without automation, the order fulfilment processes have been severely disrupted due to the non-availability of manpower. It is also proven that just adding more and more people to a problem does not necessarily solve it; it results in diminishing returns.
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