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Robotic Order Fulfillment Provides Autonomous Picking

The result of a decade of R&D, the Bastian Solutions SmartPick fuses a warehouse execution system with a six-axis robot, machine vision, and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to create an autonomous product picking system.


The result of a decade of R&D, the Bastian Solutions SmartPick fuses a warehouse execution system with a six-axis robot, machine vision, and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to create an autonomous product picking system.

This advancement in robotic order fulfillment offers customers faster, more accurate orders while answering the need for a more reliable solution that can grow alongside operations—turning a goods-to-person (GTP) system in an efficient goods-to-robot (GTR) system.

Bastian Solutions presented its first vision-driven bin picking robot back in 2010. It relied on a pre-trained vision platform, transporting products from one stationary bin to another. The company has improved on those capabilities considerably since then, and can now pick a complex assortment of products from the back end of a GTP system with 99% accuracy.

“The key to the SmartPick is the autonomy—the ability to route orders through our warehouse execution system down to the robot autonomously with pickable products for the robot to handle,” says Steven Hogg, applications engineering manager for Bastian Solutions. “We also have an AI-based vision system that has deep machine learning to where we can learn on the fly—we don’t have to pre-program any of the images in, and the vision system continuously improves as it picks.” At the heart of the system is a robotic piece picking system with custom-designed end-of-arm tools that can adapt to a wide variety of product shapes, sizes, and surfaces, he adds.

The system integrates seamlessly with Bastian’s ML2 autonomous mobile robot (AMR). “It is designed to be autonomously routed throughout the warehouse facility or throughout the manufacturing facility to deliver products to various manufacturing lines or also order fulfillment,” Hogg says. “It can have a static stand on top of the AMR or a conveyor to route totes between the various production lines.”

The AI and physical systems integrate with Exacta, the company’s proprietary intralogistics software, to enable the cells to run with higher autonomy. “This is what is driving the orders being brought down to the autoserve port,” Hogg says. “This right here is showing the bin that’s being delivered to the workstation. The robot is working in the background to start and stop the cell. We go to the individual bin and are picking pieces out and are placing to the AMR ML2.”

SmartPick is a turnkey GTR fulfillment system that increases picking throughput, adjusts to labor availability, reduces picking errors, allows for 24/7 automated operations, and improves customer satisfaction.

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