WALTHAM, Mass. – 6 River Systems today announced general availability of its Mobile Sort solution, which enables warehouse operators to fill batched orders with 6 River mobile robots, mobile sort stations and cloud-based software. The company will showcase the Mobile Sort system at next week’s ProMat 2019 event in Chicago.
The Mobile Sort solution is designed to help warehouse operators to meet peak demands and challenges driven by growing e-commerce and retail sales, as well as an increasing labor shortage. The company cited a Wall Street journal report that said U.S. warehouses need to hire an additional 425,000 workers between 2018-19 amid record-low unemployment nationwide, just to meet growing demand.
“Each-picking operations are under bigger-than-ever market pressure to pick faster and scale for peak seasons with fewer seasonal hires,” said Jerome Dubois, co-CEO and co-founder of 6 River Systems. “Mobile Sort improves throughput with a picking and sorting solution that is mobile and flexible, helping operators who are crunched for time, capital, and resources balance performance and cycle times.”
The Mobile Sort stations include smart kiosks, mobile put-to-light walls with validation sensors that work with the company’s cloud-based software and its collaborative robots, called “Chucks”. The company’s intelligent allocation engine continually generates highly optimized batches of work that group orders into the most efficient picking jobs, minimizing walking for workers. Chucks deliver empty totes to associates in active picking areas, and direct associates to complete the picks. Totes are then delivered to take-off points, where they are sorted into orders using the Mobile Sort stations.
Sorting items more efficiently
The stations also include product images and put lights, giving associates more assistance to sort items into customer orders faster and with better accuracy, the company said. The complete system is powered by 6 River’s machine learning platform, which drives efficient picking and system performance. The company said not only does Mobile Sort improve pick rates, but it can consolidate picks across different areas – for example, across mezzanine levels or from goods-to-person automation solutions.
“Mobile Sort is quick to set up and break down, and doesn’t require any permanent infrastructure,” said Gillan Hawkes, vice president of Product at 6 River. “Unlike traditional automation, Mobile Sort can be easily scaled up or down to handle seasonality and to reclaim precious floor space.”
With the new product, 6 River said it extends the value they offer to customers – from collaborative mobile robots, to order allocation, picking, sorting and packout. The company’s solutions address existing gabs in the market, specifically for third-party logistics (3PL), business-to-business, e-commerce and omni-channel retail operations.
“Autonomous mobile robots have done a great job of attacking the low-hanging fruit in fulfillment processes – movement of material,” said John Santagate, research director for Commercial Service Robotics at research firm IDC. “As the innovative vendors in this space have begun to scale deployments, they are now also developing complementary products that extend the value of the AMRs in the fulfillment process. Mobile Sort from 6 River Systems is a good example of an AMR vendor extending the capabilities and value of their products and offerings.”
The company said that Mobile Sort will be deployed across leading 3PL and retail warehouse operations in time for the peak 2019 season. At ProMat, 6 River Systems will demonstrate the solution at its booth, #S3983.