What we have been experiencing in the last decade is a real revolution in intralogistics. What initially began as a transition from traditional static shelving to automatic storage systems that translate goods directly to a bay, is now being transformed into an increasingly independent automation system. We are not talking about simple weight manipulators or the most advanced anthropomorphic robots that resemble human movement. It is the actual concept of picking that is evolving.
Picking is the process where individual items are pulled from a warehouse for order fulfillment and that can take place in different ways: from the simplest and most traditional way in which the operator moves among shelves, to the most advanced way based on a fully automated system.
The Modula path
Modula took a first step, in 2016, when it introduced Modula OnePick, an automatic vertical storage system equipped with a special picking bay with a Cartesian robot that moves on 2 axes (X and Y). The bay has a predefined height from the ground so that it can be integrated perfectly with any type of conveyor and other handling equipment. Its operation is fully automatic and requires no operators: a gripper picks up the box and places it in front of the machine on an external surface.
The Amer case
Modula OnePick isn’t the only way to automate picking though. Amer SpA, for example, has programmed a MiR industrial robot that interacts with a Modula storage system and autonomously performs the entire material picking and placing phase.
Amer SpA is an Italian company that develops and designs AC and DC motors, gear motors, steering systems, complete traction systems for vehicles, and battery-powered applications. It is a company that is already well-acquainted with the potential of Modula automatic storage systems. In fact, over the years, other companies in the group have already chosen to optimize their warehouse operations with various Modula Lift machines.
Amer’s goal was to pursue a different concept this time though, newer with respect to those previously adopted. The purpose was to transfer a semi-finished product from one system to another, also managing a buffer zone with a very high turnover rate. This semi-finished product is stored and handled on special metal pallets. In the transfer phase, the Modula missions are already launched and managed, so that while the shuttle heads towards the Modula, the tray needed by the operation is positioned in the bay. When the shuttle arrives, the system picks or places the items, and confirms the end of the operation by scanning the QR Code near the bay.
The entire process is completely automatic, with no human intervention.
Daniele Fontò, Production Manager of Amer explained that “From the beginning Amer established the goal of completely automating the handling operations, that is, with the complete absence of human intervention and above all, the dynamic integration of the process aimed at managing all events in real time. Modula, for us, was the best solution not only for its storage capacity, but also for its handling potential.” MiR and Modula vertical storage systems, a winning combination!