San Jose-based robotics company, Fetch Robotics, has announced its new PalletTransport1500, an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) designed specifically to replace forklift trucks in warehouses. The standalone bot supports cross-docking, returns, and case picking workflows for contactless pallet transport in distribution centers.
The robot utilizes Honeywell Intelligrated’s Momentum warehouse execution system software, known as Momentum WES, to safely move pallets and other large payloads up to 1136kg (2504 lbs.).
According to the press release, the new robot is designed to eliminate humans from the pallet movement equation. Through the integrated Pallet Conveyance solution, facilities can leverage the PalletTransport1500 to support a wide variety of workflows, including:
- Cross-docking: the AMR can transport pallets directly from inbound to outbound shipment areas. After pallets are unloaded from the truck, the AMR carries pallets routed from the inbound trailers/containers directly to the respective outbound shipping area location.
- Returns: once inbound items are sorted based on product type or vendor, the AMR transports pallets to their appropriate return station (inventory, recycle, charity, etc.)
- Warehouse transport: after received products are unloaded and palletized, the AMR moves inventory to storage locations based on business needs
The PalletTransport1500 consists of the Fetch Freight1500 AMR with an integrated lift and a pick-up and delivery station and already conforms with the new ANSI/RIA R15.08 standard for autonomous mobile robots. When combined with Momentum WES, the PalletTransport1500 can manage long-haul material transport without any need for human involvement, saving the time spent on operating forklifts and freeing up workers for more value-added activities. By taking care of long-haul movements in the facility, the Pallet Conveyance solution reduces injuries and creates a safer, more efficient warehouse environment overall.
This product category was undoubtedly one of the most requested, given the fairly frequent accidents associated with forklift trucks. According to OSHA, the U.S. government agency responsible for workplace safety, “forklifts cause about 85 fatal accidents per year; 34,900 accidents result in serious injury; and 61,800 are classified as non-serious.” This is a fairly large source of workplace accidents. The agency adds that if you assign one accident for each vehicle, it means that somewhere nearby, or 11% of forklift trucks in the United States have had an accident.
In addition to these concerns, the coronavirus outbreak has put more pressure on warehouse automation to keep production levels high.