Frederik Brantner, CEO
Human nature has forced us to continually beg the question, “How can we be better?” Our yearning to create a better civilization everyday has pushed us forward to create technology that not only makes life easier, but also works on a global-scale in bringing innovations to life. This need for building an intricately connected world has grown increasingly evident in the realm of logistics. When the time between ‘Click to Buy’ and the customer’s doorstep is measured in hours, and users always want products faster and cheaper, companies cannot afford to spare time unnecessarily. If they do not deliver, then their competitors will. Since the supply chain never sleeps, it was only natural that we employed technology in warehouses that does the same—robots.
Mobile robots speed material flow to fulfillment workstations and between manufacturing processes. Automating mundane manual processes, they allow operators to focus on more pressing issues and also cut picking errors and boost throughput. Moreover, robots offset rising labor costs and shortages while also improving ergonomics and helping companies make better use of their skilled workforce. However, to address an increasingly complex supply chain backed by intensive consumerism, leaders need to adopt modern robotic solutions that can expedite their warehouse logistics. Intralogistics has evolved from static conveyer processes, to islands of automation, to now connecting those islands with modern systems of interconnected automation. In order to cope with these changes and stride forward into a new era of industrialization, enterprises need to embrace a set of tools and equipment from a relatively new market such that they can bring in intelligent automation into their manufacturing and distribution processes. Magazino, a Munich-based company, was founded with the sole purpose of providing adaptable robotics solutions to help supply chain managers streamline their operations and vastly improve efficiencies. With its innovative solutions, Magazino helps logistic-focused companies alleviate the burden on their workforce while simultaneously allowing for higher productivities and profit margins.
A Leader in Innovative Automation
Until recent times, driverless transport systems have required an adaptation of the environment or the specification of fixed routes such as those provided by optical guidelines or floor markings.
Our robot, TORU Cube, is fitted with a camera and lasers to detect and pick up specific objects wherever they are on a shelf
With increasing demands on modern warehouse and intralogistics, the desire for flexible solutions and free navigation in changing environments has also grown substantially. Magazino has designed and developed intelligent robots such as TORU and SOTO that can quickly find their way around in any environment, make decisions independently, are capable of learning, and work reliably and safely with people. With warehouses facing an increased volume of goods with extensive returns to manage on short processing times, complex warehouse environments dictate a need for driverless transport systems that operate autonomously—such as the solutions that Magazino delivers. Additionally, the robot fleet is networked locally and linked to customers’ merchandise management system via an interface. This is how the robots can receive their assignments seamlessly and learn continuously. And depending on the requirements of the client, Magazino’s robotics solution can flexibly adapt—for example, by expanding the robot fleet or expanding its area of application.
The company’s self-learning order picking robots relieve their human colleagues, especially during stressful peak order times where a shortage of skilled workers can lead to bottlenecks in the supply chain. Flexible route guidance, intelligent evasive maneuvers and network communication enable the Magazino robots to carry out storage and retrieval orders independently. This allows the robot to work in parallel with people and also for a long time after the person goes home after their shift ends.
ACROS— The Brain Behind the Robot
Magazino’s ACROS (Advanced Cooperative Robot Operating System) operating system serves as the brains of its perception-controlled robots. The robots are deployed, coordinated and controlled through ACROS. Additionally, ACROS can assist in the development of other perception driven robots with different capabilities. Thus, it has the potential to generate a global knowledge database from the data of all robots operated with ACROS: a basis for machine learning and thus new intelligent robot behaviour.
In the past, robots were always programmed by their individual manufacturers with custom software, exclusively tailored to their respective needs. ACROS, however, makes it possible to program different types of robots with a comprehensive operating system. This would allow the hardware components of the robots to become interchangeable in the future while the intelligence stays within the ACROS software framework.
ACROS also grows with collective intelligence. As more robots worldwide work with ACROS, more knowledge is collected in the cloud. Through this network, the robots can learn from one another and constantly improve. For instance, if one robot collects data when picking up shoe boxes, another robot linked to the cloud can also pick arbitrary objects that are physically similar, without ever having encountered such objects before.
A Helper for Any Organization
Magazino has been the helping hand for many companies to efficiently manage their warehouse inventories. LLOYD Shoes GmbH—a company founded in 1888 and a leader in high quality shoe production—is one such enterprise that has partnered with Magazino and benefitted immensely from it. In December 2019, the first two mobile picking robots were delivered from Magazino to Sulingen, the headquarters of LLOYD. The TORU robots autonomously store and pick shoes in the shelving systems over an area of around 700 square meters. TORU can work alongside humans and therefore provide active support, especially during order peaks and at peripheral times. Laser scanners and numerous sensors on the robots ensure that working together in the same rack corridor is safe for man and machine. In the inbound process, the items to be stored are taken over by TORU from a shelf rack. In the outbound process, the picked shoeboxes are transferred both in picking carts, which are positioned at the ends of the shelf rows, and in shelves next to the packing stations. The success was even more remarkable when, in August 2020, the integration of the robots was completed in record time, despite numerous restrictions due to the pandemic, and all acceptance criteria were met. The operation of the robots was then completely handed over to LLOYD employees. Since then, the robots have been working autonomously on a daily basis and are supported in rare exceptional cases via remote support.
Magazino’s warehouse robots are a testament to the company’s in-depth and intensive research and engineering. Connected to the warehouse management system, they receive their pick orders via WiFi, navigate autonomously to the correct shelf, identify the target object with their cameras and sensors, grasp it, store it in their backpack and transport it for further processing. On a busy day at the warehouse, such pragmatic solutions are exactly what human workers need to alleviate pressure and focus on what matters more—the business.