Autonomous helper

Since June 2018, several autonomous robot trolleys have taken over the majority of walking routes in the 50,000-square-metre warehouse in Swarzędz near Poznań, Poland. They support employees when it comes to picking orders for articles of clothing.

automated rech truck High, higher, Rhenus. The automated Schubmaster RAE 200 from Toyota Material Handling has been stacking countless goods onto shelves in Rhenus’ multi-user warehouse in Dortmund since autumn 2018. Standing at eleven metres tall, the fully autonomous forklift can store or retrieve up to 30 pallets per hour. Rhenus Warehousing Solutions’ warehouse in Dortmund-Wambel, Germany, is home to high-tech products, audio systems, fan merchandise, window technology and much more. To support the employees in storing the pallets, Technical Procurement decided to bring in an automated helper that is guaranteed not to be afraid of heights: the Schubmaststapler RAE 200. The forklift isn’t just driven by sophisticated technology and IT, but also numerous hours of practical training. More precisely, it completed around 1,000 test hours during its two-year induction phase in which its navigation, sensors and interfaces were put through their paces and configured. The result speaks for itself: the intelligent high-reach forklift doesn’t just store pallets, but also moves them to other shelving areas autonomously. Automated forklifts make day-to-day operations easier for employees even if there is a high number of full pallets in a warehouse’s goods receipt area, since they achieve a higher capacity and also improve occupational safety. The RAE 200 is ready to go around the clock and has a 360-degree personnel safety system.

The route from the shelves to the packing station is up to 800 metres long. Thanks to the intelligent helpers, employees’ walking routes have been significantly shortened.

Employees pick over 18,000 orders consisting of t-shirts, trousers, shoes and many other articles of clothing each day in Rhenus Warehousing Solutions’ warehouse in Swarzędz. Intelligent robot vehicles known as Effibots are deployed to reduce their workload.

It took Rhenus, together with a partner, just six months to develop the robot solution for making order picking more efficient, safer and more ergonomic. The autonomous trolleys follow employees through the shelves, are filled with the collected goods and automatically drive to the packing station and back. So what’s so special about the Effibots? They can be used around the clock, start up at the touch of a button and load and unload independently.

The robot vehicles offer a huge range of advantages in warehouse management. For example, they make employees’ work easier by carrying heavy goods. Plus, process efficiency, safety and quality increase while process costs can be reduced.