MHS Robotics, a single-source provider of material handling automation and software solutions, took home a 2021 RBR50 Innovation Award from Robotics Business Review for the multi-pick robotic end effector. Unlike end effectors that handle a single item at a time, the multi-pick robotic end effector from MHS Robotics can pick up and hold up to 36 items simultaneously and pack four orders at a time into four separate shipping boxes. The technology was originally developed for a distribution and fulfillment project packing e-commerce orders.
Working as part of a goods-to-robot order fulfillment workflow, the solution offers a throughput rate of up to 90,000 pieces picked and 42,000 orders fulfilled per day. This capability makes it a strong fit for distribution and fulfillment operations with large amounts of multi-item orders to fulfill, such as multi-packs of consumer goods, office supplies and more.
“Logistics processes are under pressure to meet faster service levels and overcome labor challenges,” says Dean Terrell, senior vice president, research and development, MHS. “With robotic solutions like the multi-pick end-effector, we partner with customers to engineer automated solutions ready to integrate seamlessly and meet real-world challenges, like reducing dependence on a shaky labor pool or boosting output.”
The multi-pick end-effector is one of several pick-and-place robotic products the company currently offers, each designed to fit seamlessly into existing sortation and order fulfillment workflows in distribution centers. MHS Robotics also offers autonomous mobile robot solutions, including options like detachable carts, robotic arms and conveyor supplements to handle specific requirements like large and irregularly shaped items.
The multi-pick robotic solution relies on computer vision and advanced artificial intelligence to manage incoming order requirements and use the 36 individual graspers to buffer and ultimately pick and pack orders. MHS Robotics develops advanced technologies in-house and in collaboration with the University of Louisville Speed Industry Research and Innovation team and the Louisville Automation and Robotics Institute. The company also engages a range of independent robotics suppliers to develop and deploy robotic solutions for a range of applications.