CHICAGO — Warehouse robots are like ants. When one fails at its task, the entire colony can suffer. But unlike an ant colony, they’re often divided: Different robots typically perform different tasks and run on different systems, creating rifts in the ranks.
At ProMat 2023, Wilmington, Massachusetts-based Locus Robotics took steps to address that problem, announcing its new automation platform, LocusOne. The solution, unveiled Monday, can coordinate more than a thousand of the company’s autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), or LocusBots, of all sizes and functions across spaces larger than 1 million square feet.
Under LocusOne, each of the firm’s AMRs — Vector, Origin and Max — can take on more tasks than were previously possible. Originally designed to handle specific functions like picking or goods-to-person transport, each bot is now capable of performing several jobs, from case picking to pallet building. According to Locus, the solution consistently doubles or even triples productivity.
“With LocusONE, the right bot is assigned for the role,” a Locus representative explained to FreightWaves. “LocusBots scale easily to engage in a diverse array of tasks — including each picking and putaway, case picking and putaway, replenishment, pallet building, routine routes, point-to-point transport, counting, and more — within a single warehouse.”
That’s being made possible through LocusOne’s “brain,” a data science-driven software called LocusView that optimizes each bot’s mix of tasks throughout the day. It provides immediate insights drawn from dozens of reports and real-time dashboards: labor forecasting, predictive analytics, order pool tracking, operational comparisons against targets and more.
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Importantly, LocusOne can integrate with any warehouse management system, making the deployment of LocusBots smoother. And once they’re in action, the bots receive regular enhancements via over-the-air updates.
“LocusONE’s ability to integrate rapidly and efficiently with other automation technology — such as sortation or packaging systems — ensures that a nimble, scalable robotics solution can be easily deployed into both brownfield and greenfield environments,” said Locus CEO Rick Faulk.
The solution is now available through Locus’ robots-as-a-service (RaaS) offering — essentially a subscription to an AMR fleet. Already, the service has some big-name customers, including DHL Supply Chain and Kenco Logistics.
“[LocusOne] lets DHL Supply Chain deploy the right bot for our customers’ varied needs, all centrally coordinated and managed on one platform,” explained Sally Miller, chief information officer and DSC digital transformation officer for DHL Supply Chain North America.
In addition, Locus on Tuesday announced a new partnership with Abb Optical Group, a distributor of optical products like contacts. The company will deploy LocusBots at its logistics center in Hebron, Kentucky, to boost fulfillment efficiency, building on its previous deployment at its Florida headquarters.
Click for more FreightWaves articles by Jack Daleo.
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