Rhenus has been using EffiBOT robots extensively in Europe
Logistics services provider Rhenus has expanded its relationship with Effidence, a pioneer and leader in collaborative and autonomous robotics.
For several years, Rhenus has been using EffiBOT robots on a daily basis in Europe to optimise e-commerce order preparation.
Rhenus' French distribution centre in Saint-Quentin, Fallavier, was looking for similar robotic solutions for its order preparation process on pallets rather than bins. The company turned to Effidence to design a new AGV for its requirements.
To carry out the project, the two companies started looking for a manufacturer of warehousing equipment, capable of offering reliable handling stackers on which it would be possible to make customised modifications. They settled on Manitou Group which had all the required expertise within its warehousing subsidiary, LMH Solutions.
Through Rhenus, the collaboration between Effidence and Manitou Group resulted in the signing of a strategic business partnership across Europe. Together, Effidence and Manitou were able to design and manufacture an autonomous and collaborative robotic stacker to assist order pickers.
Cédric Tessier, president of Effidence, explains: "We have built a solution of mobile stacker robots that autonomously move towards the item to be picked according to the orders issued by Rhenus' warehouse management system (WMS). The pickers, stationary in the aisles, take the goods and place them on the pallets. A server smartly distributes this fleet of stackers to ensure that the machines circulate smoothly and thus minimise the waiting time for the pickers.
"By significantly reducing the walking distance of pickers, productivity is clearly improved," he says.
Tessier says that unlike the traditional approach where an order is carried out entirely by a picker, the swarm of robots brings greater scalability.
"Logistics is evolving (and) we are evolving with it," he adds.