Robotic Automation Continues Advancing eCommerce and Warehousing

January 31, 2022 by Stephanie Leonida

Berkshire Grey, Autostore, and KUKA reveal their latest solutions for improving warehouse and eCommerce operations.

As eCommerce and warehousing continue to advance with digital transformation and Industry 4.0, robotic automation is also expanding into the field. What are a few industry leaders doing to further advance robotic automation?

Berkshire Grey, Inc. (BG) is a robotics company specializing in providing artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled robotic solutions. BG’s robotics aims to facilitate the automation of online order fulfillment and store replenishment operations for leading retail, third-party logistics (3PL), grocery, and eCommerce companies. 

The company recently released its Reverse Logistics solution to help speed up the resale of returned goods and reduce the labor needed in the process. 

Warehouse automation company AutoStore has also announced a new automation solution in its R5+ Robot. The new bot can handle bins up to 425 mm and is hoped to speed up processes associated with high-throughput applications in the eCommerce industry. 

Automation corporation KUKA announced its line of KR CYBERTECH nano robots will now be running on the KR C5 micro robot controller. This will enable robot operation without a transformer.


Reverse Logistics 

BG’s Reverse Logistics solution includes the company’s Robotic Product Sortation with Identification (RPSi) and Robotic Shuttle Put Wall (RSPW) systems. Both systems are equipped to handle returned retail items as efficiently as possible. 

BG RPSi systems help pre-sort and categorize incoming returns packages before opening and inspection. This can save valuable time for 3PLs and other central returns processing centers. BG RSPW systems allow for rapid sorting of returned products so that they can be resold and/or refurbished as quickly as possible.


A worker in an eCommerce facility. Image used courtesy of BG 


The complete solution has been created to help retailers decrease markdowns by speeding up returns processing to get goods back into inventory or moved to refurbishment. BG claims the solution is up to 25 percent faster than manual processing and helps reduce processing costs by improving labor handling efficiency by up to 35 percent. 


The R5+ Robot

AutoStore’s new R5+ bot provides warehouse staff with the ability to handle the tallest bins available in the AutoStore system at up to 425 mm. AutoStore offers its customers customized storage to fit any warehouse space with its aluminum-based grid. The modular design allows easy access to robots specialized for collecting or delivering bins of various sizes (220, 330, and 425 mm tall). The tallest (425 mm) bin is compatible with B1 and R5+ bots. 

The bins are designed to be durable and can be subdivided to include multiple product categories. The maximum grid height for AutoStore customers utilizing the R5+ with 425 mm bins will be slightly higher than a grid with the R5 using 330 mm bins. This creates a grid composed of 14 layers of bins (around 6,044 mm tall). The new ability of the R5+ to tackle taller bins allows warehouse staff to move larger items and inventories.


KR CYBERTECH Nano Robots and the KR C5 Micro Controller

From April 2022, KUKA’s new generation of KR CYBERTECH nano robots will run on the KR C5 micro controller with six installation positions. This will provide customers (including those within the electronics and food industries) with flexibility concerning low-payload robots (6 to 10 kg) without needing a transformer. 

The KR CYBERTECH nano. Image used courtesy of KUKA


Like the KR CYBERTECH nano bots, the KR C5 micro controller is designed to be installed and operate in space-limiting areas. The 9 kg controller has a 70 percent smaller design and a footprint more than 50 percent smaller than the KR C4 compact. This means that the KR C5 micro is adaptable for ceiling, floor, and wall installations. 

For warehouses and other eCommerce facilities wishing to economize on space, reduce footprint, and boost productivity, the KR C5 micro and KR CYBERTECH nano bundle could be an attractive solution. The bundle is available to customers for pre-order.

KUKA’s latest lineup, the R5+, and Reverse Logistics are all robotic automation solutions designed to help with eCommerce and warehousing. Having flexible, modular equipment is a large proponent of digital transformation. 

How is robotic automation expanding into your facility?