9 must-have benefits of piece picking robots for warehouses

At a time when consumers are demanding ever-faster delivery, intelligent piece picking robots represent the next exciting phase in the evolution of warehouse automation.

eOperator piece-picking robot arm

Shifting consumer behaviour is compelling companies to address the demand for faster, seamless experiences. Established and emerging industries are adopting warehouse automation systems, with e-commerce a hotbed in particular.

The intralogistics landscape has dramatically evolved, with thousands of warehouse automation solutions now deployed globally in areas where they were absent a decade ago.

Many industries already see the widespread benefits of implementing robotic piece picking solutions like Element Logic’s eOperator in solving their fulfilment challenges. This machine learning-driven solution for warehouse operations, streamlines the goods handling process by combining piece picking technology from RightHand Robotics with advanced warehouse optimisation software (eManager, eOperator) developed by Element Logic enables a fully automated picking operation.

Here are nine benefits that show how piece picking robots can produce a quick return on investment in terms of time, money, and labour:

1. Non-stop productivity

eOperator can pick a wide range of SKUs consistently and tirelessly around the clock, significantly outpacing manual efforts. Unlike manual workers, they never get sick or tired, can operate in the dark, and can work multiple shifts, which means they can operate outside standard working hours, paving the way for 24/7 operations.

2. Precision picking and reduced error rate

eOperator is programmed for precision, assisted by sensors and machine vision, to achieve high picking accuracy. This decreases the likelihood of errors like improper handling or picking incorrect items, leading to savings in expenses related to returns and resolving customer complaints.

3. Improved workforce efficiency

Labour shortages and high labour costs for warehouse operations are a common challenge in many regions. Automated warehouse picking robots can replace monotonous and physically demanding duties, enabling human workers to take on more complex, but less labour-intensive tasks that can’t be automated easily. Workers will thrive in new, more value-added jobs as automation gradually finds its place in warehouse operations.

4. Added flexibility and scalability

If your product picking demands surpass your capabilities, robotic piece picking solutions like eOperator can be scaled up quickly with additional units or reconfigured to handle various product types as inventory needs or market demands evolve. They are designed to work alongside humans for maximum flexibility and can smoothly adjust to fluctuating workloads without recruiting and training additional staff.

5. Improved safety and ergonomics

Robotic solutions in the warehouse contribute to a safer workplace by replacing high-risk, physically demanding, or repetitive tasks, reducing the likelihood of injuries and health issues related to manual picking. They can also operate in conditions that could be unsafe for people, such as in cold storage or with hazardous substances, ensuring better health and work-life balance.

6. Continuous improvement through machine learning

eOperator has embedded AI and machine learning abilities, allowing it to refine its picking efficiency over time. Through constant learning from past performances, the system can adapt to new picking patterns and refine its movements to handle an assortment of items more effectively. This learning process enhances picking range, rate and reliability overall increasing the systems value in operation.

7. Intuitive controls that require less training

Our automated warehouse picking robot boasts a user-friendly interface that simplifies system interaction for operators. Quick and easy access to the controls, settings, and monitoring tools ensures warehouse personnel can oversee the robotic arm with minimal training, reducing downtime and boosting efficiency. Typically, a one operator can monitor six systems using one single interface.

8. Comprehensive operational dashboard for better decision-making

The dashboard provides key insights into the performance metrics of eOperator (Range, Rate, Reliability). The availability of real-time analytics like picking accuracy and speed, among other critical data points, enables more accurate decision-making and a richer understanding of the system’s effectiveness.

Such reporting can help warehouse managers identify picking trends, peak operation times, and potential areas for improvement. Real-time insights also allow for proactive workflow and inventory placement adjustments to leverage eOperator’s capabilities.

9. Seamless AS/RS integration

eOperator is designed to operate with AutoStore. This integration creates a unified workflow between storage, retrieval and picking operations. eOperator can pick items from the AutoStore ports and will place them into a target tote or carton ready for dispatch.

This tight integration between the warehouse control system (eManager) and eOperator contributes to reduced handling times, as well as bigger efficiency improvements in the storage and retrieval process, making it an ideal choice for businesses aiming to enhance their current AutoStore setups.

The world’s first robotic piece picking solution integrated with AutoStore

Apotea, Sweden’s leading online pharmacy, places high demands on its warehouse to fulfil around 50,000 orders daily to satisfy its customers. The company is committed to delivering the best customer experience in the industry and in e-commerce, exceeding expectations with an enjoyable and straightforward shopping journey that appeals to existing and new customers.

Fast and accurate deliveries are crucial in realising this ambition, starting at Apotea’s logistics hub at the Morgongåva business park 10km to the west of Uppsala. Successfully installing an AutoStore system from Element Logic has notably strengthened its maximum throughput.

However, during the pandemic, Apotea’s demand rose sharply. Daily orders doubled to 100,000, putting the company’s logistics centre under severe pressure. So, in a pioneering move, it installed automation for the entire process in the logistics centre, including the unique eOperator piece picking robot arm that works round-the-clock with AutoStore.

The installation comprises 20,000 bins (with space for another 5,000), 30 AutoStore robots (R5), and six carousel ports, five of which are served by the eOperator piece picking robots. The objective is to optimise inbound and outbound delivery processes while enhancing operational efficiency and better cope with substantial fluctuations in order volumes that may arise periodically. The current installed capacity is 800 order lines per hour. The installation is a collaboration between Element Logic, AutoStore, RightHand Robotics, and Apotea itself.

Get ahead today with piece picking robots

The integration of piece picking robots into warehouse operations is not just a futuristic trend. It’s a practical necessity that delivers unparalleled precision, efficiency, and scalability, essential for staying competitive in today’s fast-paced, demand-driven market.

Also, with capabilities such as machine learning and real-time data analysis, these systems continuously improve and adapt. So, the question is no longer if businesses should invest in robotic automation, but rather how quickly they can integrate these essential tools into their operations.

To learn more about eOperator and our AutoStore solutions, get in touch today.

Join our newsletter

Keep up to date, get insights and product updates straight to your inbox.

Sign up