InVia Partners with Rakuten
(May 9, 2018) InVia Robotics announced a new customer today. Rakuten Super Logistics is one of the largest 3PL providers in the US and they have selected InVia Robotics AS/RS solution to help automate their US warehouses.
The announcement highlights a recent pilot deployment of the InVia solution at the Rakuten Las Vegas warehouse. InVia deployed 20 robots into about 3000 square feet of warehouse space for the pilot. The InVia solution is an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) which uses InVia’s unique autonomous mobile robots to acquire and return product totes from warehouse shelves. Human packers remain stationary at a pack-out station while the robots bring the correct order product to the human for picking. This process is known as goods-to-person.
As a result of implementing the InVia solution, the pilot project demonstrated a 300% throughput improvement for the order picking process. “300% improvement is just on the fulfillment on the picking side,” said InVia CEO and founder Lior Elazary, “and we expect higher improvement once they implement replenishment and reverse logistics workflows. Unlike the other mobile robot solutions, InVia can actually help with these workflows.”
Some of the things that makes the InVia solution uniquely qualified for a goods-to-person workflow is the fact that the robots are equipped with a tote retrieval mechanism which allow it to drive to a shelf and pull the tote or box with product off the shelf and bring it to the pack-out station. No human workers need to wander the aisles to pull product from boxes. Once the order has been fulfilled, the InVia robots return the product tote to the warehouse shelf.
The InVia Robot Management System (RMS) communicates with the warehouse management system (WMS) to take the order request and then route a robot to go pull the appropriate product tote from the shelf. With intelligent fleet management, the solution optimizes the robot usage. In addition, the InVia RMS can “defrag” the warehouse shelf’s to help optimize warehouse space and to position more frequently ordered products closer to the pack-out stations. In a 3PL environment, InVia believes that this feature helps to increase product density so that customers like Rakuten can handle more product in their warehouses, which helps reduce handling costs and improves their bottom line.
InVia uses vision to guide the robots through the warehouse and to accurately locate and acquire the totes on the shelves. The deployment at Rakuten’s Las Vegas warehouse only took 3 days from start to finish. Once the product barcodes where placed on all of the product boxes, the robots were unleashed to map the warehouse and use their vision to identify all of the product locations while they generated a map of the facility. After that process, the robots were able to begin processing orders, picking boxes from shelves and delivering them to the pack-out stations.
Also important to Rakuten is the robots-as-a-service (RaaS) business model that InVia offers its customers. The global revenues for RaaS is expected to reach US$34 billion by 2026, according to a recent RaaS market report by ABI Research. Elazary said, “Doing the RaaS puts pressure on us, as everyone is ready to move forward right away as there is not risk and a huge return on their end.”
You can learn more about InVia by checking our our InVia vendor page.
Here’s a link to actual Press Release about Rakuten and InVia partnership.