Published in German on September 29, 2023 in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and online
By Maximilian Sachse, Lahr/Black Forest
Published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “The Future of the Warehouse “.
Four iw.hubs, one of them called “Bart”, have been driving through the Zalando warehouse in Lahr/Black Forest for three months now. Right now, the Dax company is considering further usage scenarios. FAZ visited Zalando on site.
The Future of the Warehouse
In logistics, there is a shortage of personnel in many places, and costs are rising. Are robots the solution?
The future of logistics at online fashion retailer Zalando is small, yellow, and named after the TV series “The Simpsons”. Rather leisurely, “Bart” turns the corner and drives into a corridor of the Zalando logistics center in Lahr/Black Forest. Still somewhat provisionally attached to the floor is a laminated sign with a picture of Bart and the inscription, “Attention robots!” “Bart” simply drives over it; the signage is intended for his human colleagues anyway. The vehicle looks like a lawn mowing robot that is a bit too big and functions like a kind of autonomous lift truck. The robot is now driving toward a silver mesh rack containing several cardboard boxes – so-called clarification cases. “All packages with irregularities are rejected,” explains site manager Dirk Rautenberg – for example, if a barcode is unreadable.
In the past, employees had to put the faulty packages to one side and collect them by hand. Today, they are placed on the conveyor belt and automatically discharged at a central point. Bart takes care of the rest. Zalando handles thousands of parcels here in Lahr every day on 130,000 square meters. “We don’t actually do logistics here – we produce packages,” says Rautenberg, looking at the various interlocking machines, conveyor belts and processes. The robot now slides under the lattice rack. A lifting platform moves up a few centimeters so that the wheels of the rack no longer touch the floor. Then the robot beeps and sets off for the sorting station, where the discarded packages are checked.
Four of these transport robots have been driving through the Zalando warehouse in Lahr for three months. The Dax company is currently considering further scenarios for their use. The online retailer is not alone in this. […]
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As a forward-thinking deep tech company, idealworks has been enabling the future of logistics and industrial automation since November 2020. Its flexible, scalable robotics ecosystem, featuring the intelligent automation platform AnyFleet for seamless mobile robot integration, the CE-certified autonomous mobile robot (AMR) iw.hub, and the advanced robotics operating system iw.os, is reshaping intralogistics processes for companies globally. Emerging from its roots as a BMW Group spinoff, idealworks is committed to driving efficiency and operational optimization in a rapidly evolving automation landscape.
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