Toll opens automated DC

The Toll Group has opened a new distribution centre (DC). The highly automated DC has been established to meet increasing demands for efficient e-commerce and omnichannel order fulfillment, and was fitted out by Dematic.
The DC features several Dematic systems integrated with new technologies. Dematic Multishuttles store, buffer and sequence 80,000 SKU. Workers pick orders at 24 ergonomic goods-to-person workstations. Ten AGV handle repetitive transportation tasks safely and automatically. In addition, the Toll Group worked closely with Dematic to define and implement support systems from other vendors to ensure complete integration.
As a 3PL, the Toll Group had some stringent requirements for automation. General manager of speciality retail at the Toll Group Robert Charles said: “We look at the occupation, health and safety requirements. We look at order accuracy to prevent returns coming back to the facility.
“We also look at customer service to make sure customers get their product in an efficient manner. Because it’s all about the speed to market today.”
 
 
 

Automated vehicles get the green light in Victoria

File photo.

Legislation has passed the Victorian Parliament this week that allows driverless vehicles to be trialled across the state.
Under the changes to the Road Safety Act, VicRoads will be able to grant permits to individuals or organisations wanting to conduct on road trials of automated vehicles.
The government believes this legislation will encourage national and international industry leaders to develop this emerging technology in Victoria, which will mean more jobs and opportunities for Victorians.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan has also announced a $9 million grant program for researchers and industry, as part of the Towards Zero Road Strategy and Action Plan.
These grants will support the development of vehicles with connected and automated technology and safety features.
“Victoria is at the forefront of autonomous vehicle technology and these changes will allow our best and brightest to continue to drive transport innovation, Mr Donellan said.
“Automated vehicles will be a game-changer for Victorian roads – initially reducing and ultimately eliminating human driver error.”
Under the new laws, all driverless vehicle trials will require a human supervisor to monitor the vehicle from either inside or outside the vehicle.
Once it has been established a vehicle can drive safely, this condition may be removed to allow the vehicle to drive in automated mode in limited circumstances without a supervisor.
VicRoads acting deputy chief executive Robyn Seymour said: “We’re excited to support trials of automated vehicles, which will revolutionise the way we travel and move around our communities.”

Butler robot contract awarded for large home furnishing chain in Japan

Technology company GreyOrange and logistics technology provider GROUND Inc have been awarded the contract to supply robotics solutions to the Nitori Holdings Group, Japan’s largest furniture and home furnishing chain with over 400 stores. The robotics system will be deployed at Home Logistics which is a logistics subsidiary of Nitori Holdings, operating 34 distribution bases and an efficient logistics network for product delivery to stores and e-commerce customers across the country.
Manabu Matsuura, Corporate Officer of Nitori Holdings and CEO of Home Logistics said, “We were impressed to find that the GreyOrange Butler is an entirely new robotics concept for warehouse automation unlike automated storage and retrieval systems. Also, Butler satisfies our corporate philosophy that we always pursue ideal workplaces for everyone. For example, we have been an early adopter of technology solutions and were the first user in Japan to leverage robotic storage systems in our warehouses last year.”

Manabu Matsuura, Corporate Officer of Nitori Holdings and CEO of Home Logistics, and Nalin Advani, CEO - APAC, GreyOrange.
Manabu Matsuura, Corporate Officer of Nitori Holdings and CEO of Home Logistics, and Nalin Advani, CEO – APAC, GreyOrange.

Hiratomo Miyata, CEO of GROUND Inc., exclusive provider of GreyOrange Butler in Japan, said: “We are really happy to announce that Home Logistics has become the first user of the Butler in Japan. They have evaluated several options and are glad to use the Butler as they believe the Butler goods-to-person technology will be a driving force in their strategy to increase productivity in their warehouse operations through robotics.”
The GreyOrange Butler system will be installed at the Home Logistics Osaka distribution centre, to handle automated inventory storage and picking. The software adapts in real-time to changing inventory profiles and order fulfilment patterns, for high productivity and accuracy.
Nalin Advani, CEO – APAC, GreyOrange said, “Japan has one of the world’s most mature distribution infrastructure and it is the fourth largest e-commerce market. Over 75 per cent of consumers regularly shop online and e-commerce is forecasted to grow to US$200 billion ($260 billion) by 2020. We are honoured to work with Nitori Group, including Home Logistics, to deploy our Butlers. The Nitori Group is far-sighted in anticipating the challenges of warehouse operations and addressing it with robotics. We are also excited to be selected for the Japan market where specifications for technology are among the most demanding in the world.”

Ford reveals self-driving ‘Autolivery’ van concept

Ford has revealed its concept for autonomous parcel delivery – ‘Autolivery’ – at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
“For more than half a century, vans have played a key role in deliveries,” said Ford in a statement. “Drones are a modern phenomenon. But the two could work hand in hand to improve mobility in urban areas in one example of Ford’s vision for the ‘City of Tomorrow’.
“Self-driving vans could quickly and efficiently transport everything from groceries to urgently needed medical supplies on the ground, with drones potentially able to take to the air for the final leg of the journey to reach destinations inaccessible by car, such as high up in a tower block – or where parking would be difficult, impractical, or unsafe.
“The innovative Autolivery concept, developed by a team of Ford employees for the company’s Last Mile Mobility Challenge, imagines electric self-driving vans used together with drones to pick up and drop off goods and packages in urban areas. The concept can be experienced through virtual reality headsets at Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, in Barcelona, as part of Ford’s vision of the City of Tomorrow.
The concept was developed by Shanghai-based Ford designers Euishik Bang, James Kuo and Chelsia Lau in response to Ford’s calls for urban mobility solutions – the Last Mile Mobility Challenge.
“It’s all about making life in the city easier,” said Bang. “The possibility of harnessing autonomous and electric vehicle technology with drones to quickly and easily send and deliver parcels could help to make life better for everyone.”
News site Post&Parcel has previously reported that by 2021, Ford intends to have a “fully autonomous, SAE level 4–capable vehicle” that can be used for applications such as package delivery fleets.

Automated bearing delivers railway haulage service life

An automated journal bearing polishing machine that delivers superior raceway finishes and extended service life in railway journal bearings produced using innovative new processes has been introduced by Bearing Engineering Services.
In a first for the Australian bearing reconditioning industry, BES recently finalised commissioning of its Automated Journal Bearing Polishing Machine, capable of handling all metric and AAR sizes, says BES Railway and Reconditioning Manager, Mr John Tawadros.
The new machine, designed in-house and built by local contractors, enables BES to deliver bearing raceway quality levels closer to that of new, increasing whole-of-lifespan efficiencies for BES clients including those in light and heavy passenger rail, as well as freight and heavy haul operations throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific. BES customers also extensively cover heavy haulage rail including iron ore, coal and other mining industries, bulk handling, sugar, transport terminal and port loading infrastructure users of railway equipment.
Benefits of the new automated machinery include:
•    Superior raceway finish as compared to traditional manual polishing methods.
•    Improved quality control through greater accuracy and consistency.
•    Improved service life, reducing bearing life cycle costs.
•    Improved WHS+E outcomes to staff, with reduced manual handling and reduced intensive repetitive manual operations.
•    Better environmental outcomes, with improved dust and contamination controls and collection.
“By introducing this equipment into our system, it allows our highly trained and skilled staff to spend more time focused on the critical areas of the reconditioning process that deliver higher value and returns to our clients,” says Mr Tawadros.
“Maximising our time where it is needed most, not only further refines and improves our ability to make decisions of benefit to clients, but give our staff a greater sense of focus and purpose. Our inspectors can utilise their skills and experience in a far more proactive manner as compared to the manually intensive methodologies of the past.”
BES and Schaeffler Australia are part of the global Schaeffler Group, a world leader in rolling bearing design and manufacturing with around 84,000 employees in approximately 170 locations in 50 countries. The company’s commitment to Australian industry includes locally based rolling bearing assessment and reconditioning services that bring Schaeffler’s extensive skills and technology to Australian industry. BES operates a high technology bearing reconditioning and services facility in Auburn, Sydney, where it reconditions rolling bearings from all bearing manufacturers, providing industrial and railway solutions that combine local knowledge and service with world-leading technology.
“Our new journal bearing polishing machine is a great example of BES-Schaeffler looking to the future, taking advantage of ever-improving technologies, combining them with our local knowledge and implementing these into deliverable actions,” says Mr Tawadros.
“Our objective with this new technology and with the broad range of our services, is to deliver reconditioned bearing solutions in closer alignment to the standards of new-build bearings.
“Providing further evidence of the level of technical and commercial capabilities BES brings to our markets, we are delighted to have designed and commissioned this unit in-house and to have had it built utilising local contractors.
“We are proud yet again, to introduce innovative world leading technology and processes to our clients throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific.”

Dematic Acquires NDC Automation

Dematic, a leading global supplier of integrated automated technology, software and services to optimise the supply chain, today announced the acquisition of NDC Automation, a transition period locally, and globally as Dematic, and will continue to deliver the highest quality AGV solutions for Dematic customers.
Ulf Henriksson, Dematic President and CEO stated, “We are pleased to announce the acquisition of NDC Automation, which enhances our ability to design, deliver and deploy global AGV solutions that move, store and/or retrieve goods.”
“The NDC portfolio expands upon an existing portfolio that will dynamically optimise the movement of raw materials or finished goods as they move throughout a facility, including software that provides real-time information addressing material flow metrics.”
Headquarted in Australia, NDC Automation has been providing AGV solutions for companies located in Australia and New Zealand for more than 40 years. The company has pioneered major advances in the areas of safety and vehicle navigation for its customers.
Glen Borg, Dmeatic CEO ANZ/ASEAN commented, “This acquisition further enhances our offerings to the global marketplace, complementing our storage equipment and logistics IT technologies and providing our customers with expanded flexible, scalable and modular solutions.”
“The NDC Automation team is excited to join the Dematic organisation and leverage our technology, deep breadth of experience and provoking thought leadership in the area of goods transportation,” stated Tommy Eklof, NDC Automation CEO.
“We look forward to offering our combined technology solutions to create competitive advantage for the Dematic and NDC customer base.”

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