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Robotic picker has an efficiency of at least 99.5%

03 May, 2023

ABB Robotics has launched an AI-based system that detects and picks items in unstructured environments in warehouses and fulfilment centres with an efficiency claimed to be better than 99.5%. The robotic item picker can handle up to 1,400 unsorted items per hour, each weighing up to 3kg.

The system consists of a robot, suction grippers and machine vision software. It automates complex picking and placing of items including cylinders, pouches, boxes, polybags and blister packs, which would otherwise require the dexterity and flexibility of humans.

Using machine vision and AI, the picker determines the optimal grasp points for each item before a suction gripper picks up and places the item into the appropriate bin. The system does not need human supervision or information about the physical attributes of the items being picked. ABB says that the high picking rate will allow businesses to handle more orders without needing extra staff or more time.

Software integrates all parts of the system, and interacts with peripheral equipment, allowing users to add components and other functions.

The picker can be fitted to ABB’s IRB 1200, 1300 or 2600 robots and offers a payload capacity of up to 3kg and a reach of up to 1.65m. The pre-configured and tested system reduces engineering effort and accelerates time-to-market by integrating easily with existing automated storage and retrieval technologies, such as shuttle, cubic and 3D storage systems.

“The explosion of e-commerce, changing consumer demands and global labour shortages are driving the need for flexible automated solutions that make order fulfilment and distribution faster and more efficient,” says Daniel Navarro, managing director of ABB Robotics’ consumer and service robotics business. “With its ability to learn and adapt in constantly-changing warehouse environments, our AI-enabled robotic item-picker sees items and decides how to pick them, at speed with more than 99.5% efficiency, helping businesses to overcome these challenges and build resilience.”

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