DHL Supply Chain has now picked more than 100 million units in its North American facilities using Locus Robotics‘ LocusBots. DHL’s Hanover Township, PA facility achieved the milestone while fulfilling orders for a major apparel retailer, according to DHL.
DHL runs more than a dozen sites in North America that use 2,000-plus LocusBots to support piece picking and order fulfillment. Locus’ line of robots can improve productivity by up to three times, according to the company, by reducing the amount of time employees spend walked around a facility searching for an item by bringing them right to them.
Locus’ robots allow DHL to adjust to peak periods by adding more picking robots when needed, and even transferring them from slower facilities to busier ones as demand shifts. LocusBots have also sped up worker training by 80%.
“As this milestone illustrates, our unrivaled implementation and productization of assisted picking robots has been a tremendous success for our customers’ supply chains. It is a testament to our team’s ability to integrate groundbreaking technologies into customer operations seamlessly and in a targeted way to maximize their effectiveness. We have gained invaluable insight into how to scale the technology strategically and quickly to better adjust capacity to help meet changing demand, especially during peak periods,” Sally Miller, the CIO of DHL Supply Chain North America, said. “Robot-assisted picking is just one of the 12 technology categories DHL Supply Chain focuses on as part of our commitment to accelerated digitalization. We are making significant progress in our commitment, as evidenced by this milestone, as well as our collaboration with Boston Dynamics and our recent autonomous forklift deployment.”
DHL & Boston Dynamics
DHL and Boston Dynamics recently announced that DHL would be spending $15 million on a fleet of Boston Dynamics’ Stretch robots. The robots will be placed in multiple DHL warehouses in North America throughout the next three years.
Stretch is a case handling robot with an omni-directional mobile base with four independently controlled wheels, a custom 7-DoF industrial robot arm that can lift up to 50 pounds and a custom suction gripper. The robot has an 8-hour battery life, but will eventually have a 16-hour battery option and the ability to plug in the robot for continuous power.
DHL expected deployments to begin in the spring, with further plans to gradually scale Boston Dynamics’ robots for additional tasks across multiple facilities in phases over the next few years.