Swisslog is introducing to Australasia its new CarryStar fully automated order fulfilment system, which combines automatic guided vehicles (AGV), KUKA Star Robots and the latest Swisslog SynQ software for optimum efficiency, flexibility, reliability and sustainability.
The CarryStar will be displayed for the first time at CeMAT 2018 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from July 24-26 (Stand F12), along with live demonstrations of Swisslog’s new KMP600 AGV, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, and the latest collaborative robots from its parent company, KUKA.
Swisslog and KUKA’s highly advanced technologies and automation are designed to improve efficiency and return on investment for industries such as e-commerce, retail, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, logistics, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).
The scalable and modular, fully-automated CarryStar is suitable for small, mid-size and large layer and stack picking operations. With minimal fixed infrastructure required and the ability to grow as a business expands its operations, CarryStar is ideally suited to retail, FMCG and pharmaceutical companies looking for hygienic and efficient warehouse automation.
The fully automated process starts with a pallet infeed station, where KMP600 or KMP1200 mobile platforms (carry bots) receive the pallets and transport them to buffer positions or the picking area around a Star Robot.
“The highly customisable nature of the machine makes it suited to dynamic businesses, where order fulfilment needs may be constantly changing.”
These KUKA high-performance Star Robots are the workhorses of the CarryStar system, and can pick approximately 200-300 layers or stacks per hour to form mixed or rainbow pallets, depending on the requirements to fulfil the order. Once complete, Swisslog’s Carry AGV then transport pallets to the pallet wrapper where it also will be labelled, and finally to the dispatching area to be sent to the required destinations.
Productivity and sustainability can be enhanced by negative picking, which allows for the conversion of source pallets into order pallets to minimise wastage. The entire system is driven the intelligent SynQ software, which not only manages the system, but collects valuable data and uses this to recommend further efficiencies.
“The CarryStar provides an insight into the factories of the future. It’s an automated pallet-to-pallet transfer of goods system that needs minimal fixed infrastructure to operate, making it suited to companies looking for hygienic and efficient warehouse automation,” said Swisslog Australia senior consultant Paul Stringleman.
“The highly customisable nature of the machine makes it suited to dynamic businesses, where order fulfilment needs may be constantly changing. It also helps growing businesses, because modular units can be added on as the business expands,” Mr Stringleman said.
Scalable: The modular and scalable design allows for growth in line with business growth. In addition to needing only minimal fixed infrastructure, it does not require any conveyors, which adds flexibility when updating or expanding operations. CarryStar is well-suited to small, mid-size and large layer and stack picking operations.
Flexible and sustainable: CarryStar’s safe and energy-efficient design provides excellent traceability of expiry dates and batches, as pallets are scanned when they enter and leave the system. Source pallets are converted into order pallets to enhance productivity and minimise wastage. With minimal fixed infrastructure required (i.e. it does not use conveyors), CarryStar is flexible, hygienic and cost-efficient warehouse automation.
Efficiency: Both quality and quantity are increased with the CarryStar, as one robot can palletise approximately 200-300 layers or stacks every hour, with error-free operation.
Reliability: Fully controlled by SynQ software, CarryStar reduces picking errors. The high redundancy of the Carry AGVs’ performance allows the process to be managed effectively at any time.
“SynQ manages CarryStar to create an intuitive, efficient, data-driven and error-free operation.”
Carry AGV: An innovative and automated picking system designed to efficiently move the pallets around the CarryStar. These mobile vehicles combine Swisslog and KUKA’s extensive experience (KMP600 and KMP1200) in automation systems, hardware and software intelligence. The vehicles navigate using a grid of QR codes to deliver stacks to the Star Robots through the infeed, move the pallets around the robots, and to buffer positions, and subsequently deliver the racks to the outfeed for shipment. These AGVs are intuitive and safe, simultaneously reduce picking error rates and maintaining efficiency.
Star Robot: These are chosen based on SKU, volume and the type of picking that will be completed (crate stack, carton and tray layer or mixed SKU stack picking). These six-axis robots are available in different payload capacities to suit different warehouses and stock picking needs.
SynQ software: The machines are managed by Swisslog’s intelligent management software, SynQ. In addition to the core processes that are used to manage the AGV, SynQ also provides access to analytical tools. These tools evaluate and make smart decisions in a warehouse, based on gathered data. SynQ manages CarryStar to create an intuitive, efficient, data-driven and error-free operation. SynQ also manages energy-efficiency levels by using un-sequenced order data by SKU and pallet, manually re-sequencing this data for CarryStar by SKU and order pallet to result in minimal product pallet movements that are communicated to the Star Robots.
The CarryStar process
- Goods arrive in homogenous pallets.
- Pallets are automatically stored in the pallet storage area.
- The pallets move through an infeed into the CarryStar solution area.
- Once inside, the Carry AGVs move the pallets around the robots and/or to buffer positions depending on where they are required to be positioned.
- If in the buffer position they remain there until required and if so the Carry AGVs move the pallets to the correct position.
- Alternatively, the pallet is positioned around the Star Robot, where pallets are picked (crate stack, carton and/or tray layer).
- The Star Robot layer or stack picks the pallets depending on whether a single SKU, mixed or rainbow pallet is required.
- Once pallets are complete, the Carry AGV’s move the pallets to the pallet wrapper, whereby the order pallets are labelled before they leave the CarryStar area via the outfeed station to the dispatch/shipping area, then loaded securely on a wrapping machine and wrapped efficiently. Carry AGVs then move the secured pallets to the pallet labeller where they are labelled using SynQ’s intelligent software.
- Once complete, the Carry AGVs move the pallets to the outfeed where they are ready for dispatch.