Profiles, Robotics
Daniel Theobald, DHL & Dell Global Robotics Challenge, Profiles, robotics, Vecna

Vecna Awarded First Place for Autonomous Tote Retrieval System

MassTLC member Vecna recently received first prize in the annual DHL and Dell Robotics Innovation Challenge for 2017. The company’s winning robot, the Tote Retrieval System, makes autonomous case/tote retrieval from standard shelving possible for the first time.

Read the full press release about Vecna’s achievement, here.

The following piece, which further details the Tote Retrieval System, was originally published on LinkedIn.

Autonomous Tote Retrieval System

Fully autonomous case/tote storage and retrieval from standard shelving is now possible with the TRS (Tote Retrieval System) from Vecna Robotics. A fully functional version of the robot was recently tested at the DHL Innovation Center in Germany, and won first place in the DHL/Dell Global Robotics Challenge. Email to preorder for mid 2018 delivery.

The robot is capable of autonomously navigating down narrow aisles, and placing or retrieving cases, totes or other items from shelving. Barcodes readable by the robot are required on the boxes so it knows which to pick. With an optional 3D vision system it can pick unlabeled boxes.

The system can integrate with a warehouse management system to retrieve and store items as needed to support warehouse operations. The system is also capable of picking from or placing to conveyor belts, or other robots like Vecna Robotic’s RC20, RC500, RL3600, or RT4500 mobile robotic platforms. TRS can be used in person-to-goods, goods-to-person and goods-to-robot order fulfillment activities, case retrieval for order fulfillment, line side replenishment or for numerous other activities.

As this robot is safe for operation around humans, there is no need to separate human and robotic order fulfillment activities into different parts of the warehouse. This allows for maximum flexibility and robustness.

Daniel Theobald, Chief Innovation Officer remarked, “This product further extends the capabilities of Vecna Robotics in the material handling and order fulfillment markets. Our customers wanted a fully integrated end to end automation solution. With the addition of the TRS to Vecna Robotic’s full-spectrum lineup of autonomous pallet, case, and piece handling equipment, we can offer full dock-to-dock autonomous operation in a warehouse without requiring any special infrastructure. We look forward to implementing this solution in the world’s largest manufacturing, shipping and retail order fulfillment facilities.”

Vecna’s TRS system was awarded first place in the DHL & Dell Robotics Mobile Picking Challenge 2017. The event was held last week at the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf, Germany.

The challenge required a mobile robot capable of navigating traditional warehouse shelves, and picking boxes and totes from conventional shelving. Vecna Robotics not only was able to successfully pick the boxes from different levels of the shelves, but also was able to place the boxes and totes on its autonomous RC20 Conveyer (20kg payload) mobile robot.

According to Denis Niezgoda, Robotics Accelerator Lead, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, “Vecna’s robots are clearly top notch, and winning the DHL/Dell Robot challenge was an impressive accomplishment. But what truly impressed me was how great the Vecna team was to work with. We look forward to exploring ways to work together more in the future.”

The challenge was sponsored by Dell EMC. “As one of the largest technology solution companies in the world, it has been a fantastic opportunity for Dell EMC to co-sponsor this initiative,” Timmy O’Dwyer, Vice President, Global Parts Operations and Limerick Site Leader at Dell EMC. “We believe innovation is at the core of digital transformation, and are proud to be involved in this robotics challenge.”

Daniel Theobald praised the collaborative spirit of the event finalists. “It was an honor to participate in the challenge and to work alongside the teams of global engineers participating in the challenge. Everyone was supportive of one another, and it’s that type of collaboration that will advance the robotics industry.”

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