Blog: Three reasons for innovation in intralogistics

11 October 2021

The range of solutions for intralogistics issues has increased considerably in recent years. But do they answer every question? Inther Group is not convinced. The international system integrator states three reasons why to invest heavily in innovation: the increasing demand for order picking capacity, the great importance of reliability and the need to switch quickly. 

Designing an intralogistics system is like a complex puzzle. How do you choose the right components from the wide supply out there? And how do you build a solution based on those components that is perfectly tailored to the needs and requirements of the warehouse? That puzzle is becoming more and more complex as the demands increase at a rapid pace. More and more often it appears that important puzzle pieces are missing. That was the reason for Inther to develop and build those puzzle pieces themselves. Why?

Reason 1: Shortage of order picking capacity

The rapid growth in e-commerce presents warehouses with major problems. The order profile is becoming more intricate and as a result requires more and more handling. Because of this, the demand for employees increases in an increasingly tight labor market. Robot suppliers are busy developing solutions for this. Cobots in particular are popular, but they are not fast enough for warehouses handling large volumes and high dynamics. Industrial robots offer sufficient speed, but have a limited range and therefore limited capacity.

The answer is the Gantry Robot Intelligent Piece Picker (GRIPP). Not a traditional articulated arm robot, but a gantry robot. It can at high-speed pick items and divide them into twelve boxes or totes. The smart software not only recognizes the articles, but also scans the contents of those boxes or totes. The GRIPP does not just drop the articles, but gently places them exactly where there is room in a box or tote. Thanks to the use of machine learning, the robot is getting smarter with every pick.

Reason 2: Reduction of downtime

Delivery within 24 hours is no longer fast enough. The call for shorter delivery times is putting enormous pressure on lead times in the warehouse. Nobody can afford equipment downtime. And if a piece of equipment stops, it must be restarted as soon as possible. But especially for very specific applications, solutions have been developed that are still satisfactory in theory, but are no longer reliable in practice.

An example is the A-Frame, an automatic order picking solution that is particularly popular in the pharmaceutical industry. The range of A-Frames has been limited in recent years and is not always up-to-date. This is reason enough to completely re-engineer this machine including creating new hardware and software. The result is a reliable piece of equipment meeting all warehouse requirements which processes high volumes and high dynamics.

Reason 3: Speed of installation

A system that is perfectly adequate today may fail again tomorrow. In 2020 in particular, many companies have noticed the importance of switching quickly and expanding storage and order picking capacity. But how do you do this with equipment whose delivery time continues to increase? And which have to be programmed and tested for weeks and sometimes months before they are ready for use?

That it can be done differently is proven by a new generation of conveyors with a design in which the control is central. This makes it possible to pre-assemble these conveyors and provide them with the correct cabling. The factory has already tested whether everything functions correctly, so that the engineers on site only have to connect the conveyors. A real plug-and-play system. The advantage: the new intralogistics system is up and running much faster.


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