DHL, Wärtsilä announce successful completion of warehouse robotics experiment

DHL and Wärtsilä, a Finnish manufacturer of power sources and other equipment, completed joint testing of mobile robots from Fetch Robotics at one of Wärtsilä’s warehouses in Kampen, the Netherlands. The trial found that robots travelled more than 30 kilometers per day, contributed to productivity, and made for a safer overall work environment by taking on higher-risk tasks.

The project tested the Fetch Robotics machines across a variety of warehousing functions, to understand where robots can add value and to learn about the technology interface between human employees and robots.

The mobile robot system excelled at point-to-point material transport, where movement between fixed points lends itself to automation. “The robots are designed to work alongside employees and to relieve them from physically strenuous tasks,” said Denis Niezgoda, Robotics Accelerator lead at DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation. “Fetch Robots can run for up to nine hours on a single charge, after which they independently return to their charging units. The autonomous mobile robots have a loading capacity of 78 kilograms and move at up to 4.4 miles per hour.

“The intelligent robots recognize their location and surroundings, and can differentiate between dynamic and static obstacles, thus enabling evasive action to work safely with and around people,” DHL said.

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