Berkshire Grey has unveiled its next-generation picking robots for fulfillment operations. The Intelligent Enterprise Robotic (IER) picking and mobility robots utilize artificial intelligence to offer lower cost points and shorter delivery times while expanding the number of SKUs the robots can pick.

Berkshire Grey’s robots do not use fixed conveyor belts and it said the technology allows for retailers, grocers and third-party logistics providers to orchestrate a fleet of mobile robots to pick, organize and deliver items to fulfill customer and store orders.

“We developed this next generation of IER solutions to achieve higher throughput at lower cost in a third of the deployment time,” said Steve Johnson, president and COO of Berkshire Grey. “Berkshire Grey’s industrial-grade mobile robots work together at unprecedented scale to deliver a step change in speed and intelligence for any fulfillment center. Best of all, our software gets smarter over time, speeding efficiencies, while enabling maximum flexibility for businesses to meet rapidly changing consumer demands.”

Berkshire Grey said its intelligent fleets of mobile robots can:

Integrate robotic picking with mobile robots to increase automation levels and fulfillment speeds.
Transform any facility into a high-throughput fulfillment system with minimal disruption to existing operations. Facilities can deploy the new robot systems in both existing and new fulfillment centers in one-third of the time of legacy systems.
Handle greater SKU coverage than legacy systems – including heavier items, non-conveyables and challenging items like shrink-wrapped packages (e.g., dog food bags, glass, water bottle packs).
Perform faster and more flexibly than traditional approaches – conducting agile any-induct-to-any-discharge organization of goods and incorporating intelligent on-field storage supporting many use cases.
Dually utilize storage locations as robot highways and handle diverse SKUs directly – the new robots can rotate and adjust positions, pass under shelves and conveyor belts, and function without a tray or tote container – all of which enable speedier throughput and reduced process costs. 

The AI-based software allows the robots to work collaboratively and helps them “learn” over time.

“Rapid delivery for virtually any product is now table stakes for fulfillment and the market has not offered powerful solutions to enable most businesses to meet this need,” says Kevin Prouty, vice president at IDC. “Companies like Berkshire Grey that have deep IP can have a large advantage in orchestrating tens to thousands of mobile robots, to pick millions of SKUs and enable a company to significantly accelerate throughput at an attractive capital expenditure. Innovations like these help companies to meet increasing consumer expectations and to do so in a competitive fashion.”

Robotics are increasingly being implemented in warehouses to help retailers keep pace with e-commerce growth. Target, Walmart and TJX Companies are among those utilizing Berkshire Grey solutions, which are offered as robots-as-a-service models.

Earlier this year, Berkshire Grey entered into a definitive agreement with Revolution Acceleration Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: RAAC) that is expected to result in Berkshire Grey becoming a publicly listed company early in the third quarter of 2021, subject to approvals.

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

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