Tech Crunch calls it a “warehouse automation army” and, well, the description is not too far off the mark.
Fetch Robotics, a company that describes itself as a pioneer in “on-demand automation,” has announced that it will be adding two new models to its line of autonomous mobile robots – or AMRs – that are said to be deployable within hours, with no need for changes in IT infrastructure.
Fetch’s “VirtualConveyor” line is described in one report as “a kind of large, warehouse Roomba” and the new capabilities, demoed at this week’s MODEX material handling show in Atlanta, are basically plug-in modules for the existing platform.
The first is CartConnect, an AMR designed to pick up and drop off material handling carts, and the other is RollerTop – a kind of conveyor integration solution that allows the robot to line up with a belt and seamlessly flow a box onto a conveyor, without the need for any human intervention.
According to Fetch, its FetchCore Cloud Robotics Platform allows mixed fleets of VirtualConveyor robots to “uniquely complement any warehouse optimization strategy for mixed inventory and workflow environments associated with the largest 3PLs, retailers, and manufacturers in the world.” The main benefit being the ease at which they can be deployed and adjusted with these additional modules, as needed.
The new technology complements some other Fetch products that are designed around automated data collection – and make inventory tracking look like a day at the beach – a weird, robotic beach. Products like TagSurveyor and ShelfSurveyor use AMRs to cruise around and collect data by either scanning RFID tags or taking high-quality images of shelves for identifying re-stocking or inventory needs.