Bridgestone to buy TomTom for A$1.45bn

Bridgestone Corporation (Bridgestone) has announced that its subsidiary Bridgestone Europe NV/SA will acquire TomTom Telematics, the digital fleet products business, for a cash consideration of €910 million (AUD 1.45 billion). The transaction is anticipated to be completed latest in the 2nd quarter of 2019, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions such as regulatory approvals.
TomTom is the number one provider of digital fleet products in Europe, a marketplace with very diverse in legal, commercial and cultural requirements. Its digital fleet business has successfully demonstrated its ability to operate in complex and demanding market environments and has continued to strengthen its potential to expand globally.
TomTom’s digital fleet product range offers a platform for connected vehicles enabling safer driving, improving productivity and optimising uptime for personal and commercial mobility. Combining this digital fleet business with Bridgestone’s tyre expertise and global service network creates an opportunity that accelerates the company’s effort to become a key partner in the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) landscape with leading tyre products and services.
In addition to reinforcing Bridgestone’s broad and leading portfolio, this strategic investment will also strengthen its position as an innovative leader in the field of tyre design, and tyre predictive maintenance service. Bridgestone will gain unprecedented insights into vehicle and tyre operating conditions and be able to leverage a growing installed user base of 860,000 vehicles communicating 200 million data points per day.
With this acquisition, Bridgestone adds core components to its Tyre and Diversified Products as a Solution (Bridgestone T&DPaaS) strategy.
 

Boeing goes pilotless

Boeing has successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype in Manassas, Virginia. Boeing NeXt utilised Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and will continue testing to advance the safety and reliability of on-demand autonomous air transportation.
The PAV prototype completed a controlled take-off, hover and landing during the flight, which tested the vehicle’s autonomous functions and ground control systems. Future flights will test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes. This transition phase is typically the most significant engineering challenge for any high-speed VTOL aircraft.
“In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop. “Boeing’s expertise and innovation have been critical in developing aviation as the world’s safest and most efficient form of transportation, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative and responsible approach to new mobility solutions.”

Powered by an electric propulsion system, the PAV prototype is designed for fully autonomous flight from take-off to landing, with a range of up to 50 miles (80.47 kilometres). Measuring 30 feet (9.14 metres) long and 28 feet (8.53 metres) wide, its advanced airframe integrates the propulsion and wing systems to achieve efficient hover and forward flight.
The test flight represents the latest milestone for Boeing NeXt. The division works with regulatory agencies and industry partners to lead the responsible introduction of a new mobility ecosystem and ensure a future where autonomous and piloted air vehicles safely coexist. In addition to the PAV, the Boeing NeXt portfolio includes an unmanned fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) designed to transport up to 500 pounds (226.80 kilograms) and other urban, regional and global mobility platforms. The CAV completed its first indoor flight last year and will transition to outdoor flight testing in 2019.
“Boeing was there when the aviation industry was born and in our second century, we will unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt. “From building air vehicles to airspace integration, we will usher in a future of safe, low-stress mobility in cities and regions around the world.”

Open-road automated vehicle trials to start in Victoria

Click here to watch the video.

Cutting-edge automated vehicle technology will be tested in rural Victoria this year in the first on-road trial approved under the new Automated Driving System (ADS) permit scheme.
Acting Premier Jacinta Allan has announced that Bosch has been awarded $2.3 million from the Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Trial Grants Program and granted the state’s first ADS permit for on-road testing of highly automated driving systems.
Last year, Victoria finalised regulations to support the ADS permit scheme, which authorises the use of automated vehicles for testing and development on our roads.
Bosch is currently developing its automated vehicle technology and will begin testing on high-speed rural roads later in 2019. The aim of the Bosch trial is to use the state-of-the-art technology to improve safety on rural Victorian roads – where drivers are five times as likely to be killed in a crash than in metropolitan areas.
The testing will be conducted on roads that expose the automated vehicle to a range of different conditions including traffic, weather and infrastructure.
The $9 million Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants Program is funded through the Andrews Labor Government’s $1.4 billion Towards Zero Action Plan.
In late 2017, VicRoads called for expressions of interest from companies, industry bodies and other transport technology organisations to apply for funding to spur the development of these emerging technologies. which will lead to reduced deaths and serious injuries. Other successful applicants will be announced soon.
The trials will support Victoria’s readiness for CAV technologies and the knowledge gained will provide a better understanding of the infrastructure required to get these vehicles on the road, maximising their safety benefits.

Toll goes e-commerce – from MHD magazine

Toll Group’s new $160 million retail and e-commerce order picking and distribution centre in western Sydney is designed to support the growth of online shopping by processing orders faster and more cost-effectively.
The 32,000sqm DC has 15,600sqm of automation equipment, which picks, processes and packs up to 375,000 items per day, reducing delivery times from days to hours.
Commenting on the project Toll Global Logistics president Chris Pearce said today’s market is placing aggressive demands on retailers to provide fast order fulfilment and delivery, without increasing costs.
“Toll’s investment in the new facility is helping our customers adapt to the new retail environment. The facility is equipped with advanced automation technology so retailers can deliver their e-commerce  orders faster, and in a much more economical way,” said Mr Pearce.
“Retailers will benefit from the ability to deliver goods to their stores and direct to customers faster and more cost-effectively. And shoppers will enjoy flexible order times and faster order processing, receiving their purchases within hours, not days.”
Fashion retail DC
The facility was constructed in collaboration with a major apparel retailer as the anchor tenant. Toll, Dematic and the client collaborated to design the facility with scalability and future growth in mind.
Toll is constantly looking to improve its omni-channel service for customers. This includes offering faster and more convenient delivery options for online and ‘click and collect’ orders.
The new DC offers complete omni-channel capability to help retailers adapt to the changing needs of customers and operates as a shared, multi-user facility.
Safety and environmental initiatives include a 70% reduction in manual handling, packaging optimisation and recycling, LED lighting and rainwater harvesting.
The site is ideally positioned on the corner of the M5 and M7 tollways, enabling convenient transport links for NSW and interstate deliveries.
The DC commenced operations in December 2017.
Toll transitioned customers through that peak period, and was fully live by the end of January, ahead of schedule.
Automated replenishment
Distribution in the DC starts at the receiving door. Cartons are unloaded from shipping containers and moved into storage, before being transported by a fleet of 10 Dematic automated guided vehicles (AGV) to the decant area.
Six double-pallet AGV are used for longer distance runs, together with four single-pallet AGV, which have been customised for the facility to provide additional safety processes around interaction with the decant tables.
The single-pallet AGV take the pallet from the handover point from the double-pallet AGV onto turntables, from which products are decanted and transported into the automation system.

“The new DC offers complete omni-channel capability to help retailers adapt to the changing needs of customers and operates as a shared, multi-user facility.”

AGV benefits
A key benefit of using AGV over forklifts for repetitive materials handling tasks is that they are predictable. They are safe, don’t take breaks, and they efficiently handle repetitive tasks.

“At the moment we are in the process of scaling up,” said Leon Land, senior product manager at Toll.
“We’ve got the ability to add capacity, extra shifts and extra hours within the time frame that we currently operate.
“The DC typically operates 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. The facility is operating at the moment with our anchor client, which is about 50% of the capacity.
“Within the scope and design of this facility, we’ve allowed for seasonality. We can scale up. We can add hours, shifts and weekends to satisfy our customers’ needs.”
He added: “A typical day at the moment is about 80,000 order lines. This utilises about 50% of the design capacity, which is around 170,000 order lines per shift.”
 RapidPICK GTP pick stations
To achieve this, the automated order fulfilment system includes 24 Dematic RapidPICK goods-to-person (GTP) pick stations. Products and order cartons are delivered to operators in a precise sequence, allowing for very high picking efficiency and accuracy.

“Employees are very happy with the new system,” Mr Land said. “It’s ergonomic, safe and there will be no horror stories of people walking mile after mile looking for products in the DC.”
The new GTP pick stations are very intuitive, easy to learn and operate. Users manage their processes via touchscreens, so it is very easy for Toll to train a new team member on the system.
Products arrive at the pick stations from 24 aisles of Dematic Multishuttle, which provides high-density storage and is capable of supplying products in the correct sequence for order fulfilment, at high rates.
Cardboard cartons are created in two sizes by automated carton erectors, with a licence plate applied on creation. These are then held in one of six Multishuttle order buffers ready for release to the pick stations.
Orders are picked and packed at the 1:1 Dematic RapidPICK stations.
“When all items for an order have been picked, order cartons are transported by conveyor via QA and automated invoice insertion to order finishing areas for either e-commerce  or store orders,” said Toll’s general manager for specialty retail Robert Charles.
“Store order cartons go through automatic carton optimising machines, where the carton is cut down in size to suit the fill level, reducing transport costs. Completed order cartons may be held in a Multishuttle pack and hold buffer, before being transported via the despatch sorter and directly loaded into Toll trailers.
“E-commerce  orders are transported to an automated packing bench with semi-automated satchel bagging machines. Satchels are then loaded into despatch cages, and loaded into the back of vehicles with minimal handling,” said Mr Charles.
The facility specialises in split case and full case picking, and currently operates from 6am to 6pm, which caters for the DC’s cut-off times to make sure Toll gets its online and other deliveries to customers on time.
The head contractor
“Dematic’s ability to support us on this project was what led us to them,” added Mr Charles.
“We collaborated very well. We put together a very strong project team to deliver this project.”
“We transitioned our customer during their peak Christmas period and we wouldn’t have done that if we didn’t have the confidence in our new systems and processes,” said Toll’s Leon Land.
“Dematic brought a very strong sense of how to deliver a highly automated supply chain and integrated logistics environment to us.
“We understand these things as a third-party company, but putting together and integrating all the automation, all of the third-party equipment, and bringing that schedule and compressing that schedule and keeping it on track was vital expertise that Dematic brought in this process.”
“Naturally, we’re very proud of the DC,” added Mr Land.
“It’s a highly automated facility. It’s changed the way we operate within the retail environment and everyone who has been involved in the project is very proud of the outcome.”

“A lot of work was done in the first 18 months evaluating multiple options and technology, whether it would be fully or semi-automated.”

Three years in the making
The DC was three years in the making and went live in December 2017. However, a lot of work was done in the first 18 months evaluating multiple options and technology, whether it would be fully or semi-automated.
“Toll looked at the business case justification, and once we got to a point where we agreed that the DC was going to be a fully automated integrated logistics centre, not only for our core customer, but also for other customers, we built at twice the capacity so that we could fulfil requirements for multiple customers,” said Mr Charles.
When evaluating a solution of this nature, Toll takes many disparate factors into consideration. It looks at customer service levels and, for Toll, how to reduce total costs, which is a big part of why businesses make decisions and realise commercial benefits.
“Safety is, of course, our number one priority on site,” he said.
“We work in an environment where there’s a lot of moving equipment, so we’re always looking at ways to segregate personnel from equipment and machine operations, and minimise the potential for accidents,” said Mr Land.
 Toll
The Toll Group operates an extensive global logistics network across 1,200 locations in more than 50 countries. 43,000 employees provide a diverse range of transport and logistics solutions covering road, air, sea and rail to help customers meet their global supply chain needs.
Toll Global Logistics has its own in-house integrated logistics capability. Toll’s team will evaluate an operation and that takes into account the operational requirements, the commercial requirements and the technical.
“After Toll develops the concept and the design levels and throughputs, we engage the market,” said Mr Charles.
“Dematic was a good choice for Toll because we’ve worked with Dematic in the past on a similar facility. There’s a good cultural alignment between Toll and Dematic, and it’s all about the people within the teams to be able to deliver something like this successfully,” he said.
“Once we selected Dematic as a partner, we had two joint project teams to execute the solution, so their involvement and their input into the solution was very detailed.”
In that detailed design phase, a lot of the input was around IT functionality, processes, and Toll understanding what needed to change from the concept to be able to accommodate some of the automation that it was looking to put in, such as Multishuttles and goods-to-person (GTP) stations.
Dematic’s multi-faceted role
“We had a lot of input from Dematic on third-party equipment, such as the carton-optimising machines, which deliver our customers fantastic benefit in terms of our outbound transport.
“Thanks to our carton-optimising system, we have the ability to reduce the carton sizes and ship 30% more cartons in the containers,” said Mr Charles.
“Dematic had a lot of involvement in terms of the IT functionality – the detailed design of the solution and the system – with regards to how do the Multishuttle system and the GTP stations work efficiently together, to ensure we would achieve peak productivity and accuracy,” he said.
“When we looked at the design of the facility, we had to take into account multiple retail customers.”
Flexible system designed for growth
“Some retailers are dedicated store retailers. We have others that are wholesale retailers who deliver to other distribution centres, and we also have retailers that have a large e-commerce  component,” said Mr Charles.
“Our anchor tenant has over 1,000 retail stores. Our second customer is a wholesale business.
“This business is delivering into other distribution centres that then deliver to its network of stores, and this customer also has a very large e-commerce  component. Toll has a lot of customers who have a fashion retail background, so the distribution profile for this facility caters for any fashion retail customer in the industry.”
“However, this site is also capable of handling any retailer,” added Mr Charles.
“So, if the retailer was a stationery retailer or in another line of retailing, the solution that we’ve implemented can cater for that.”
“The facility with the automation that has been implemented is mainly a unit pick-and-pack operation: between 95-98% of the volume goes to the automation as it’s picked at unit level,” explained Mr Charles.
e-commerce  driving growth
“Between 10 and 15% of volume is e-commerce-driven and the growth across the sector is immense,” he said.
“This is one of the key factors we had in mind when we designed the facility. Scalability and flexibility is key in any 3PL. We have multiple customers, their businesses change every year and we have to be able to evolve with them.
“If we look at what we’ve built here, we’ve built two facilities. We’ve got a fully automated one which is Project Enterprise, however, we also have a manual facility across the hard stand, which also has a lot of other customers.
“Therefore, if we need to expand, we have the ability to expand the automation, which gives us the flexibility to grow, or contract, depending on what we need to do,” concluded Mr Charles.
For more information visit www.dematic.com/en-au. You can also watch a video of this DC in action at https://youtu.be/m6iOqRH8NX8. ■

40 million parcels for Christmas

For the first time ever, Australia Post delivered more than 40 million parcels during December, making it the biggest-ever month for parcel volumes for  the organisation.
The growing popularity of online shopping and online sales events, as well as strong Christmas Eve and Boxing Day sales, contributed to an 11.7 percent increase from the previous December.
Australia Post chief operating officer Bob Black said it was all hands on deck over the Christmas period with more than 3,000 extra staff employed across the network to handle the huge volumes.
“We made more than 40 million parcel deliveries in December, and our hardworking posties delivered more than 40 per cent of these, as well as more than 210 million letters,” Mr Black said.
“Our busiest day was Monday 17 December, when we delivered a record three million parcels across the country – by far the biggest day in our history.
“What we didn’t expect was to have a lot of shoppers race to the finish line to post their festive parcels, with our people delivering a whopping 2.7 million items on Christmas Eve – our next busiest day of the month and equal second busiest day in history.”
Mr Black said Australians were embracing online shopping like never before, with Australia Post revealing last year that online purchases had grown by almost 20 per cent in 12 months.
“Our research found that people were buying up to 19.2 per cent more items online. By 2020, we expect one in 10 items will be bought online.
“Online shopping is building momentum as a channel of choice, where customers can make the most of online deals and choose customisable delivery options with Australia Post. This means online shoppers can buy the brands they love no matter where they live,” said Mr Black.

New door factory to be launched in Melbourne

Arbon Equipment is preparing to open a high-speed door manufacturing facility at Laverton North in Melbourne’s west in January 2019. Arbon is the Australian service and distribution arm of Rite-Hite, a global manufacturer of loading dock and industrial facility equipment.
The 1,200-square-metre facility is staffed by a local workforce and is officially endorsed as a ‘Made in Australia’ manufacturer. Local Australian production will decrease lead times on doors from three months to a matter of days with 100% spare parts availability. Product lines include the Rite-Hite FasTrax doors series, including the FR (freezer), Standard, and LD (large driver) models. Doors will be offered in blue and carbon.
Adjacent to the manufacturing space, the recently-opened 450-square-metre Arbon Equipment showroom at Laverton North features a variety of industrial equipment, including doors, loading dock levellers, and vehicle restraints. The full-size equipment displays give customers a chance to take part in comprehensive product demonstrations.
“We look forward to starting production on a variety of Rite-Hite industry-leading doors,” said Arbon Australia general manager Lee Lorenc. “As an addition to the modern showroom space, we’re confident that the ‘Made in Australia’ door manufacturing will allow us to be an even better partner to local companies.”
 
 

Australia Post to go it alone

Australia Post has decided to secure full ownership of Aramex Global Solutions (AGS), which provides end-to-end cross-border logistics solutions to a portfolio of iconic global e-commerce merchants.
Australia Post has reached in-principle agreement to purchase from its joint venture partner Aramex PJSC the 60% of AGS it does not already own for approximately US$20 million.
AGS has grown strongly since it was established by Australia Post and global express delivery and logistics company Aramex two years ago, with revenue up more than 60% since 2016 to approximately A$138 million* in 2018. Australia Post’s exclusive delivery of parcels for AGS in FY18 generated A$40 million of revenue.
AGS enables Australian consumers to shop online globally, connecting international retailers directly with Australia Post’s last-mile delivery and customs clearance capabilities. In addition to delivering significant parcel volumes inbound to Australia, AGS has an established presence in key global e-commerce trade lanes, including Asia, the UK, Europe and the US, providing a valuable platform for continued expansion.
Executive general manager international services Annette Carey said: “As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australia Post, AGS provides an established platform to accelerate our international growth strategy.
“Combining our postal capabilities with AGS’s bespoke e-commerce capabilities enables Australia Post to engage directly with international retailers, providing unique customer service to capture strong growth in cross-border e-commerce markets.
“Today’s agreement with Aramex reflects changes to the strategic direction of both organisations, including Australia Post’s commitment to positioning itself as a global provider of cross-border e-commerce.”
The strength of cross-border e-commerce markets and a highly regarded management team, led by CEO Nabil Zaghloul have underpinned the growth of AGS, which is now handling more than two million international parcels a month.
“At AGS, we’re very excited to benefit from Australia Post’s culture, long-term vision and ongoing investment” said Mr Zaghloul. “Through partnerships with China Post and major Asian e-commerce marketplaces, we can leverage our platform into new markets.”
Transaction completion is expected to occur in the coming days. Australia Post has plans to rename and rebrand AGS to reflect the change in ownership in the near future.
* Reflective of revenue generated in the eleven months ended 30 November 2018 and an estimated revenue for December. Full year revenue is expected to be US$99m or c.A$138m. (AUD/USD = 0.7194 at 18 Dec 2018).
 

Australia’s biggest parcel delivery day

Australia Post is expecting Monday will prove to have been the biggest parcel delivery day in the country’s history, with its team of posties, drivers and mail and parcel sorters delivering close to three million parcels on the day.
Since October, Australia Post has experienced an unprecedented number of deliveries, with more than 10 million parcels delivered in one week alone. The surge in volumes follows popular online shopping festivals such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with parcel deliveries growing more than 30 per cent during the sales.
Australia Post group chief operating officer Bob Black said more and more customers are turning to online shopping ahead of a busy Christmas because it offered more convenience.
“[Monday] will the biggest delivery day in Australia Post’s history, with close to three million parcels moving through our network, as Australia’s love for online shopping continues to grow,” Mr Black said.
“The most popular Christmas gifts among Australian online shoppers include toys and games, fashion and jewellery, and homewares and appliances along with health and beauty products.
“As well as record parcel numbers, Christmas cards are popular too, with posties delivering millions of Christmas letters and greeting cards during December.”
Mr Black said Australians were shopping mainly from local retailers, with the falling Australian dollar helping increase the proportion of domestic online purchases to more than 70 per cent of delivered parcels.
Overall, Australia Post is expecting to deliver over 40 million parcels this December, exceeding the 37 million parcels delivered in December last year.
To help customers get their Christmas gifts in time Australia Post

  • Is keeping over 170 retail outlets open longer.
  • Installed a further 13 parcel lockers taking the total to 343.
  • Has 13 air freighters operating every night for Express services and 16,000 vehicles operating daily.
  • Has hired close to 3000 extra people to deal with record volumes.

Omni-channel DC – from MHD magazine

Photo: Kathmandu’s general manager supply chain Caleb Nicolson and national distribution manager Shawn Silk.

Travel and adventure brand Kathmandu has established one of Australia’s first purpose-designed omni-channel DC in Melbourne.
 The world of Kathmandu
Kathmandu’s Truganina DC is responsible for distribution across its Australian retail network and to online customers globally.
“While the majority of our online business is currently in Australia and New Zealand, last year we launched a global website, so we are now responding to more demand,” said Kathmandu’s general manager supply chain Caleb Nicolson.
The Truganina DC is 25,000 square metres. It’s built for growth, and made it possible for Kathmandu to consolidate its previous operations.
 A bigger, smarter DC
The Kathmandu Supply Chain team started the journey about five years ago. “We knew we had to change, we knew we needed a larger site, the key question was what was the most appropriate design and automation,” said Mr Nicolson.
Kathmandu evaluated a range of order fulfilment options including zone-routed picking and goods-to-person (GTP), and it took six to 12 months before the business got to the point where it was clear that a batch-pick sortation solution would be the best fit.
“There were a lot of drivers for change,” said Mr Nicolson.
“The first one was that the lease on our building was ending, and we had run out of space and couldn’t meet our operational output per day.”
Kathmandu was seeking an operation that enabled high fulfilment responsiveness, which was critical, given the success of its strong promotional model.
With its previous discrete order picking strategy, Kathmandu’s staff would walk the DC 116 times to service its 116 stores. With the new batch-pick sortation system, they only need to walk the DC two to three times a day.
“With turnover increasing at double-digit rates for the last seven years, online has been a huge growth area for us.
“Our goal with the new DC is to be able to dispatch every order as it’s received on the day or, if not, the following day,” said Mr Nicolson.
Kathmandu has made a significant investment in systems in recent years, with its network built around responsiveness.
When a customer buys an item in a Kathmandu store, it is in demand in the DC the very next day, with all out-of-stocks prioritised for picking.
“With our new batch-pick sortation system, the pick accuracy is far beyond what we could achieve with our previous manual processes,” said Mr Nicolson.
“The trick for us has been to determine the timing of batch releases, aiming anything that’s been ordered in the morning to be dispatched that afternoon.”
Prior to implementing the system, Kathmandu contacted suppliers and changed packaging and barcodes etc. to maximise the volume of product and the width of its range that could be handled by the system, with items that transfer via the sortation system being the most cost-effective path to its customers.
The sortation system also provides a flexible conveying solution, with large items capable of being handled across two cells.
Seasonality and peak periods
With its promotional model, Kathmandu experiences the majority of demand during sale events, which are effectively at the middle to end of a season. This means Kathmandu’s range launch or initial push quantities are potentially lower than for a traditional retailer.
A traditional retailer may push 50-60% of their volume at the start of a new season, before switching to a replenishment model.
“Kathmandu’s seasons are quite different,” said Mr Nicolson, “We have three seasons and our range launch volumes are less than half the industry standard due to our promotional model and the majority of demand occurring during key promotional periods.
“We saw the need for a logistics system that could be very responsive, as we needed to maintain high service levels for highly variable demand in stores.
“For us, the ability to have a system that had the flexibility to scale up output on a Monday without a linear relationship to labour is really key.
“Under our previous manual pick method, if we wanted to increase output by 50%, it was basically 50% more people in the building. That all changes with a sortation system, particularly when you’ve got the batch-pick opportunity.”
Kathmandu’s DC was designed to accommodate growth. The capacity of the sortation system can be scaled up by adding more store or online chutes, which gives Kathmandu flexibility based on where its business grows.
The company currently inducts goods into the sortation system from one end only, and it is possible to significantly increase throughput by inducting from both ends. It can also put a mezzanine floor above the pick module, and extend the building at a later stage.
“We also ran a really high pool of agency staff, particularly in the last year within our old distribution centres, so we knew – and the narrative to our team was – as we transition people across, our existing and core Kathmandu people would have a role, because we’d be able to remove the agency element from the business,” said Mr Nicolson.
Automated split-case sortation
Dematic has implemented many cross-belt sorting systems for full case sortation in Australia.
“What was really new about the Kathmandu facility is that we’re using the crossbelt sorter to do split-case sortation to individual stores,” said Dematic’s solutions manager Darren Rawlinson.
“We take a batch of the store orders, together with some e-commerce orders, and group the demand.
“The pickers then pick those items and feed them into the sorter, which automatically allocates the picked items to the relevant stores,” he said.
Full cases can also be picked in the system. These are picked in the same manner and loaded onto the conveyor system, or, if they’re required to be broken and fed to individual stores, they feed up onto a mezzanine area ready for induction into the crossbelt sorting system.
The system can sort up to 254 store destinations together with the e-commerce areas and packing areas.
Because the crossbelt sorter does not rely on gravity and gives a positive sortation action, the system can handle a very wide range of products from a small compass packed in a plastic wrapper, all the way through to a large sleeping bag.
When Kathmandu is picking a batch of orders for stores, it also considers family groups, with the system allocating each store and family group combination to a chute. When an item is scanned on the sorter, the control system looks up to see which stores require that product, and then sorts it into the chute that has been allocated for that store and that family group.
Going to a batch-pick concept means labour can be kept relatively static, even though Kathmandu is dealing with some very different throughput days.
Picking e-commerce orders for free
One of the challenges Kathmandu faced is that e-commerce is a rapidly growing part of the business.
“What we saw with batch picking was a unique opportunity to pick e-commerce orders essentially for free,” said Mr Rawlinson. “The way we achieve that is by grouping those orders in with the store orders, so that if any store needs a product that’s been ordered online, the operator is simply told pick two instead of one.”
The items are sorted to a Dematic RapidPut wall, where an operator carries out a final sortation for the e-commerce orders and assembles those ready for packing.
At the put wall, an operator is faced with a chute where all the items for e-commerce orders have been consolidated.
The operator scans an individual item, and the system looks to see if the order has already been allocated a cubby in the put wall.
If it hasn’t, it allocates the cubby closest to the operator. After the item has been allocated to a cubby in the put wall, a put-to-light (PTL) display comes on at the front of the wall, directing the operator to the position in which they need to put the item. They then press a button to confirm the put operation.
The system automatically selects a small cubby for small orders and a large cubby for larger orders.
Each of the put walls has 144 locations, meaning that one put wall can deal with 144 e-commerce orders at any one time. On the rear of the put wall, lights indicate the next order to be packed.
With the configuration of the system, an order can be picked, processed, packed and fed to dispatch shortly after that order is made available for picking.
For more information visit www.dematic.com/en-au/.

Boeing gets ready for drone-filled skies

Boeing and SparkCognition will launch SkyGrid, a new company that will enable the future of urban aerial mobility. SkyGrid will develop a software platform to ensure the safe, secure integration of autonomous cargo and passenger air vehicles in the global airspace.
Using blockchain technology, AI-enabled dynamic traffic routing, data analytics and cybersecurity features, SkyGrid’s platform will go beyond unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) traffic management (UTM). The platform will enable SkyGrid customers to safely perform a broad range of missions and services using UAS, including package delivery, industrial inspections and emergency assistance.
“The Boeing and SparkCognition partnership is unmatched in industry today,” said vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt Steve Nordlund. “SkyGrid is building the digital infrastructure that will make safe, seamless commercial and personal transport possible for billions of people around the world.”
“SkyGrid merges expertise in AI, blockchain, security and aviation to deliver breakthrough technological advancements for the rapidly-growing urban aerial mobility industry,” said Amir Husain, who will serve as CEO of SkyGrid in addition to his role as founder and CEO of SparkCognition. “By offering scalable and robust capabilities in a single, integrated framework, SkyGrid will make large-scale air vehicle applications more practical and accessible.”
 
 
 

©2019 All Rights Reserved. MHD Magazine is a registered trademark of Prime Creative Media.