Just outside of Uppsala, Sweden, lies Apotea’s 38,000 square metre logistics centre, with one of Sweden’s largest solar panel solutions fitted on the roof of the warehouse. On average, the logistics centre ships out around 1 million parcels per month, and during the pandemic the demand skyrocketed. To better cope with the large variations in order intake, they chose to increase their efficiency and automated their facility with an AutoStore solution, including the robotic piece-picking arm, eOperator, implemented by Element Logic.
Built for further expansion
Apotea has partly automated its warehouse processes with different suppliers over the years and is now improving their efficiency further. The AutoStore solution includes 20,000 bins (with room for 25,000), 30 AutoStore robots (R5), and four carousel ports, three of which will be handled by the robotic piece-picking arm. The AutoStore system will also be connected to an automated conveyor system. The solution is built for further expansion in the future, and initially the new capacity is estimated to be 800 order lines per hour.
“For us, it was important to have a system that could handle variations in product sizes and order intake that can be expanded as we grow. This initiative helps us to become more efficient, which makes it easier for us to exceed our customers’ expectations”
— Pär Svärdson, CEO of Apotea.
eOperator – learns as it goes
AutoStore is a goods-to-person solution and works well with both staff and eOperator, which is an important part of the new solution. eOperator is a piece-picking solution from Element Logic, in collaboration with RightHand Robotics, and is a robotic arm that can pick products automatically 24/7. It is developed to work together with AutoStore to further automate the warehouse processes and increase efficiency. With the help of machine learning, eOperator automatically finds the best way to handle the selected item, which increases order capacity, goods handling, and delivery time, as well as creating a strong link between AutoStore and the material flow.
“Apotea is an impressive giant in Swedish e-commerce and since one of their main selling points is fast and accurate deliveries, it became natural to connect their AutoStore solution with Element Logic’s piece-picking solution, eOperator. The result will be improved order capacity, goods handling, and delivery time,”
— Anders Bohlin, Sales Director at Element Logic Sweden.
Why choose warehouse automation with AutoStore from Element Logic?
During the pandemic, we learned that we need to be flexible and have maximum capacity to be able to meet the sudden demand that can arise in crises, such as the pandemic or the war in Ukraine. At the beginning of the pandemic, we doubled our order intake and found it difficult to deliver according to what we had promised our customers. With an AutoStore solution, we increased the capacity of the automation we already have in an efficient way that provides greater flexibility in production, says Pär Svärdson, CEO of Apotea.
Is the investment part of a larger vision for your warehouse business?
Since 2019 we have invested in automation and believe that it is the future. We believe that this is needed to meet customers’ high demands for fast and efficient deliveries.
What is the ambition of the new automatic piece-picking solution, eOperator?
With the robotic piece-picking solution our ambition is to remove repetitive tasks for employees and increase efficiency.
Facts and figures:
- Warehouse size: 38 000 m2
- AutoStore bins: 20 000 (with room for 25,000)
- AutoStore robots: 30 (R5)
- Number of ports: 4 carousel ports
- eOperator piece-picking solution integrated with AutoStore
- Estimated order lines: 800 per hour