FORT MILL, S.C. — Honeywell today announced a strategic collaboration with Fetch Robotics to provide distribution centers with autonomous mobile robots to help them more effectively fulfill growing volumes of e-commerce orders.
The initiative enables Honeywell Intelligrated’s customers to increase productivity and boost labor efficiency by deploying Fetch Robotics’ autonomous mobile robotics, which operate safely alongside people to transport items through distribution centers without human guidance or fixed paths. By adding this offering to its smart robotics portfolio, Honeywell Intelligrated can provide customers with a range of flexible automation solutions that can be tailored to address current and future operational needs.
Honeywell Intelligrated previously announced its collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University to develop next-generation artificial intelligence and robotics technologies for distribution centers. The Fetch Robotics collaboration adds mobility capability to the portfolio of robotics solutions Honeywell is bringing to market.
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“As staffing challenges and the continued growth of online shopping are pressuring supply chains, robotics can be an effective solution to help make large, integrated distribution centers more efficient,” said Pieter Krynauw, president of Honeywell Intelligrated. “With this arrangement, we can provide our customers with a complete suite of fixed and mobile robotics solutions, backed by the expert systems integration, solutions development and reliable, 24/7 technical support they expect from us.”
Fetch Robotics offers a range of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) that use a combination of LiDAR and 3D cameras – similar to self-driving car technology – to navigate unpredictable warehouse environments safely and accurately. In the event of an obstacle, these robots can adjust routes in real time, unlike automated guided vehicle systems, which depend on pre-programmed, fixed paths. This enables the AMRs to take on repetitive warehousing tasks that may otherwise require significant travel time between locations and transporting heavy loads. Fetch Robotics’ solutions are also able to deploy and redeploy in just a single day without integration requirements or changes to infrastructure.
“We are committed to helping customers achieve their productivity goals by providing on-demand automation that enables a wide range of flexible and safe AMRs to be rapidly deployed,” said Melonee Wise, CEO, Fetch Robotics. “We fully expect our relationship with Honeywell Intelligrated to help accelerate the adoption of our cloud robotics solution within the logistics and manufacturing verticals.”
Robots key to competitive advantage
Companies are increasingly turning to robotics to gain competitive advantage in the supply chain, with adoption expected to rise from 34 to 73 percent over the next five years, according to a survey in the 2018 Material Handling Institute’s annual report. The study identified that the most common uses for robotics in warehousing operations include tasks like receiving and putting away inventory.
Honeywell Intelligrated provides automation equipment, software and services to more than 60 of the top 100 global retailers and half of the top 100 internet retailers. Distribution centers can deploy the business’s Momentum warehouse execution system to bring together automation solutions, workflows, orders and labor in a unified platform to provide real-time visibility and help make operations more efficient.
Fetch Robotics develops and manufactures AMRs for warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and logistics providers. The company provides an extensive and versatile portfolio of mobile robots and a powerful, cloud-based software platform that offers on-demand automation for a range of applications, including material handling and inventory management.