Waltham, United States – Vecna Robotics, the provider in flexible material handling automation solutions, announced a software release and hardware upgrades to its AFL-class autonomous forklift. The capabilities expand the company’s reach within warehouse and factory floors by optimising material transport between other machinery and equipment, with specific focus on low-lift workflows. The update supports numerous above-ground workflows including: inbound staging to AS/RS induction; delivering materials to ergonomic lift stands for work-in-process flows; and loading and extracting from robotic palletisers and stretch wrappers.
The warehouse automation market is expected to double over the next five years. With 15-20% of warehouses currently using robotic palletisers and stretch wrappers, automated storage and retrieval systems, and other conveyor-fed automation equipment for palletised loads, the need for flexible material handling systems that can integrate with robotic packaging and storage systems will only continue to grow. These workflows can account for 10-15% of activities in a typical warehouse and up to 70% of manufacturing production time.
Vecna AFL – with a 3,000 lb. capacity and lift heights up to 60 inches – was designed to optimise work-in-process, packaging and finished goods workflows via autonomous material handling to and from conveyors, risers and third-party automated or semi-automated equipment. The system can improve efficiency and reduce material handling costs by up to 30% for most common workflows while maintaining greater than 99% uptime via Vecna’s Pivotal command centre.
“This upgrade to our AFL platform is a response to customer need to automate more workflows including low-lift with conveyors and risers in the midst of chronic labor shortages,” says Anthony Moschella, SVP of product management at Vecna Robotics. “The ability to coordinate autonomous material transport with other automated systems and common warehouse equipment is the first critical step in our mission to help warehousing and manufacturing re-balance their worker-robot mix and free up labor for more valuable tasks.”
Detailed features of the major release and hardware upgrade on the AFL include:
- Better forklift performance and vision with fork carriage sensor fusion that supports enhanced smart payload identification capabilities, improved adjustments to misaligned pallets, and real-time remote camera views of the forks through Vecna’s Pivotal command centre
- Smoother navigation in tight spaces with new compact bumper design
- More flexible integration mechanisms including tablet UIs, APIs with WMS systems like Manhattan and BlueYonder, and built-in barcode scanners for payload verification
- Advanced orchestration with dynamic mission planning and swapping that allows Pivotal to immediately reroute and re-task robots as needed to deliver the right payload to the right location at the right time
For more information on how Vecna AFL can help maximise your throughput, visit Vecna Robotics. If you are in Chicago next week at Pack Expo, you can visit Vecna Robotics at booth #N-6366 in the North Building.
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