RK Logistics doubles down on Fetch Robotics deployment, launches next generation autonomous mobile robots to support warehouse operations
Scaled-up operation incorporates Fetch Robotics’ larger-capacity CartConnect units to complement current use of HMIShelf robots to improve productivity and throughput
Fremont, Calif. — MARCH 14, 2019 — RK Logistics Group, a Silicon Valley leader in third-party logistics (3PL), has completed testing and has deployed Fetch Robotics’ CartConnect autonomous mobile robots (AMR) in an expansion of robot-assisted support for time-critical warehousing and distribution operations.
The deployment of the new AMRs will drive additional efficiencies and productivity into fulfillment and shipping operations that support high-tech manufacturing clients, noted Rock Magnan, president of RK Logistics Group.
“The real benefit of AMRs is that they relieve employees from tedious, low-value work, such as walking a cart full of items from order assembly areas to shipping, and then walking back,” he explained. “It improves the workplace experience for the employee, makes them more efficient, and frees up time for them to focus on more higher-value activity.”
RK is deploying the AMRs in the warehouse in support of picking and kitting operations, with AMRs moving employee-completed orders from assembly areas to shipping.
RK has utilized Fetch’s HMIShelf robots for the past three years. These units have a fixed-capacity cart attached and typically can take up to a dozen multiple small parcels, boxes or totes. It is operated by an on-board touch screen, so when the employee is finished loading the AMR, one of several options is selected on the touch screen, and the robot is sent off on its route. At destination, another employee unloads the cart and then using the touch screen, sends the robot back to its origin.
The new CartConnect AMRs do not have fixed carts attached. These units are more flexible and can pick up different-sized, higher-capacity carts designed to carry larger boxes and totes, and then autonomously deliver the cart to a destination. These units can be operated remotely by any Web-enabled device, such as a hand scanner or through direct integration with warehouse systems.
When an employee finishes loading a cart, it can summon the CartConnect AMR, which then picks up the cart and proceeds to its directed location. At destination, the CartConnect AMR separates from the cart, and issues an audible signal, notifying a worker that the cart has arrived. The worker then rolls the cart to a nearby workspace to complete the shipping process. This also relieves the worker from having to physically lift boxes from the cart and carry them any distance in the shipping area.
RK’s expanded use of the Fetch Cloud Robotics Platform demonstrates its continued commitment to finding technologies that deliver the greatest value to its customers. The Fetch Cloud Robotics platform enables the company to deploy automation quickly and flexibly, and to provide future connectivity to other systems and technologies.
“In this economy, especially in the Bay Area, finding warehouse workers is a challenge. We continually have dozens of positions open,” Magnan said. “The AMRs help improve the workplace experience for our warehouse associates, enabling us to focus them on work that’s more thoughtful and stimulating, and makes the best use of their talent, while reducing the more tedious, repetitive, manual tasks. Our associates like the AMRs This technology has proven to be a positive recruiting advantage for us.”
“RK is a great example of a company innovating its way out of a tough employment market,” said Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics. “Our Fetch Cloud Robotics Platform provides a solid foundation and path to further automating and integrating warehouse processes and systems.”
In addition to its leadership in adopting robotics-assisted order picking and fulfillment technologies, RK also excels at creating unique, industry-specific programs, such as sequencing parts into lean production lines at automotive and technology equipment factories, and just-in-time (JIT) deliveries to construction sites.
A privately-held minority-owned business enterprise, Fremont-based RK Logistics Group is a growing local company with over 600 employees. The company operates 14 warehousing centers in the greater Bay Area representing nearly 1 million square feet of commercial distribution space for inventory management, manufacturing support and ecommerce fulfillment.
ABOUT RK LOGISTICS GROUP — RK Logistics is a premier 3PL provider of full-spectrum, customized supply chain services for the world’s most demanding customers. RK’s manufacturing support, warehousing, order fulfillment and transportation services feature lean practices, ISO-9001 and CA Board of Pharmacy 3PL Certifications, which is unique to a family-owned business. RK Logistics is also a certified minority business enterprise. For more information, go to www.rklogisticsgroup.com