Key Trends in Robotics for the Coming Year | Q&A [Video]


New developments in robotics are making the technology both more affordable and applicable to warehouse operations of many types and sizes, says Jim Liefer, chief executive officer of Kindred.

SCB: What do you see as the key robotics trends in the supply-chain industry this year?

Liefer: The trend is definitely moving to direct manipulation of physical product. By that I mean robots that understand unstructured themes, where to pick something up, how to identify it, and how to place it. That, I believe, is where everything's going.

SCB: What’s a situation that a robot can address now that it couldn't previously?

Liefer: A.I. is the key. It has enabled robots to work in a world full of exceptions — an environment that’s unpredictable.

Watch the full interview here

Pick up the pace with new picking technologies

DC VELOCITY (April 2019) - The buzz over DC automation is spurring interest in robotic picking solutions as well. Robotics company Kindred offers a key example with its piece-picking solution called "Sort." Used by retailers in omnichannel and e-commerce fulfillment centers, Sort is an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven robotic solution that automates the manual process of sorting multiple SKU (stock-keeping unit) batches into a single customer order. Using vision, grasping, and manipulation technology, Sort consists of a robotic arm that separates items into predetermined slots that are laid out in a circular pattern around the arm. Employees then unload the sorted, completed orders. Sort is designed for organizations that are looking for ways to reduce their dependence on labor and boost throughput, according to Monique Apter, Kindred's vice president of sales. She says the solution is currently best suited for applications in the apparel industry but adds that Kindred is working on expanding into a wider array of general-merchandise items, such as shoes and cosmetics.

Read the full article here

Hybrid Intelligence is the Future of Supply Chain Management

TECHVIBES (April 2019) - Supply chain and product fulfillment is one of the most exciting industries in the world right now when it comes to digital innovation. While that might not sound too sexy, the method of delivering a product from point A to point B has completely changed over the last five years, and will likely be completely different in the next five.

There are so many variables involved in automating supply chain processes: Delivery, manufacturing, packing, sorting, and more. There are obvious applications in industries like finance and entertainment where AI will have a major impact, but at this exact moment, AI is revolutionizing how products are sold and shipped.

But not all AI is created equally. Just ask Kindred, an AI robotics firm with offices in the San Fransisco and Toronto. The company manufactures robotic arms to aid in sorting and packing materials in a fulfillment setting—a fancy way of saying their robots pack boxes full of products to ship to customers. As of now, Kindred has publicly revealed one client: Gap, which was their pilot program. As retailers are careful not to share their advances with their competition,  Kindred is tight-lipped as well. For Gap, Kindred has several robots packing clothing in two fulfillment locations.

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Kindred's robots help retailers handle fulfillment centers - and take on Amazon

Kindred's robots help retailers handle fulfillment centers - and take on Amazon

With a background in operations at Walmart and One Kings Lane, Liefer asserts that his company’s core IP represents a significant advancement in retail operations. That’s because while industrial robots have worked well on manufacturing floors, robots have historically underperformed in e-commerce fulfillment centers, which require systems to handle objects of various shapes and sizes.