Mecalux launches an AI-driven robotics with Siemens

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· The new robot picking solution, developed at Mecalux’s technology centre in Barcelona, Spain, will enhance order fulfilment in warehouses and logistics centres.

· The collaborative picking system incorporates Siemens’ pioneering SIMATIC Robot Pick AI technology based on deep learning algorithms to automate the picking process.

Barcelona, 26 October 2023. Mecalux has unveiled a state-of-the-art technological solution to optimise order picking: an innovative collaborative robotic picking system based on the latest artificial intelligence technology.

Mecalux’s new automated solution incorporates Siemens’ SIMATIC Robot Pick AI technology, a groundbreaking vision software that employs deep learning algorithms to significantly streamline picking in warehouses. With artificial intelligence integrated into the programmable logic controller (SIMATIC S7-1500, the collaborative robot (cobot) performs order picking with total autonomy and maximum accuracy.

This novel robotic picking system is the result of a solid alliance between Mecalux and Siemens, which merge their knowledge and experience in industrial automation technologies. The two companies have a long-standing collaboration in implementing technological solutions that respond to the challenges faced by the logistics industry.

Mecalux has launched two collaborative picking solutions: a cobot programmed to safely share workspace with operators and an automated system that works autonomously in high-performance pick stations.

The picking solution, developed at Mecalux’s technology centre in Barcelona, has been designed to operate 24/7 and execute up to 1,000 picks per hour. Cobots can handle a wide range of items, making this technology suitable for businesses from all sectors looking to optimise order processing.

“The technology partnership with Siemens has allowed us to join forces to create a highly flexible, safe and user-friendly robotic solution that adapts to the specific needs of our clients,” says Javier Carrillo, CEO of Mecalux.

A camera positioned above the cobot’s picking box captures a 3D image of the goods to prepare the orders. “The AI algorithm has been pre-trained with millions of items to offer out-of-the-box performance. It’s able to make decisions in milliseconds on robust, collision-free picking positions for products presented completely arbitrarily. One of the key aspects of this solution is that it doesn’t need to know the 3D model of the item in question beforehand. The advanced artificial intelligence algorithm acts as the brain, enabling the smart picking process,” says José Ramón Castro, CEO of Siemens Digital Industries in Spain.

Once the item has been selected, the cobot deposits it in the picking box with high precision, making the most of the available space. Mecalux has devised an algorithm to ensure that the cobot places the goods in the correct location.

Guided by Mecalux’s warehouse management software, the collaborative picking solution can change its gripping system automatically depending on the type of merchandise to be handled. Upon receiving a new box, Siemens’ vision system and AI algorithm identify the items inside and determine the most appropriate way to pick each product.

This algorithm is executed using the most powerful hardware platform that Siemens offers to the market: the S7-1500 PLC range, which, together with the TM-MFP (Technology Module-Multifunctional Platform), is capable of executing artificial intelligence technology. This is achieved while respecting cybersecurity standards, using the SCALANCE X family of intelligent switches.

With the launch of this innovative collaborative picking system, Mecalux and Siemens reaffirm their commitment to delivering cutting-edge technological solutions that improve operational efficiency for their clients.

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