dhl thinks outside the box with collaborative robots

in robots @ work by Sue Sokoloski

Deutsche Post DHL Group, the world’s leading mail and logistics company, recently released their “Robotics in Logistics” Trend Report, talking about how collaborative robots will affect supply chains.  DHL is working with robots in a number of ways, such as incorporating collaborative picking robots as assistants in distribution centers. We sat down with Ms. Yee, Vice President Innovation of DHL Asia Pacific, to hear about their plans for collaborative robots Baxter and Sawyer.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about DHL’s strategic objectives to deploy robots in logistics.

A:  80 % of our warehouses globally are manual, so this gives a lot of opportunities to improve the productivity of our people.

Q:  What role do collaborative robots play in DHL’s commitment for innovation?

A:  The idea of having a robot that can work side by side with human beings, the idea of a robot that is economically interesting from an ROI perspective, and a robot that can be flexible and be taught and trained to do activities that can improve the productivity of our general work environment is very interesting for us.

Q:  What impact do you think collaborative robots will have on the co-packing industry?

A: What we look to do in the future is to re-organize our processes in a way that we can allow collaborative robots to be part of this very human-heavy process and to add value to an existing process that is extremely labor intensive. And we look forward to having either Baxter or Sawyer be part of the chain of assembly lines for us to support the packaging process.

Q:  How did you choose Rethink Robotics as your collaborative robot partner?

A:  We did a lot of research when we developed our trend research report – deep dive on the topic of robotics and automation – and through this research we looked at different robotics providers and Rethink came up as a best in class robots that are able to work with human beings very effectively.  And in their integrated approach, it also allows us to be able to teach the robots through people who may not have engineering skills sets.

Q: How do Baxter and Sawyer meet your objectives?

A:  It is early still, but it has already met our objective of stirring the curiosity of our customers.  We’re very happy to see so much interest with collaborative robots because we are able to demonstrate the capabilities of these robots in person.  Nothing beats having a physical experience with a robot like Baxter or Sawyer, and we are looking forward to more use cases that we can deploy Sawyer and Baxter with our customers.

To see other examples of Baxter and Sawyer on the job at customer sites, visit the Rethink Robotics video gallery. And for more headlines, videos and news about collaborative robots and automation, drop by Cobot Central. Also, subscribe above to receive blog post alerts delivered right to your inbox.



About the Author

Sue Sokoloski

Sue has spent the last two decades marketing for emerging technologies, building new categories, and applying science to the art of marketing. It took one look at Baxter to sign on to Rethink Robotics – a human-safe robot out to change the world. When not promoting “all things Sawyer and Baxter”, she is focused on “all things food”: where to eat it, how to prepare it, how to write another cookbook about it.

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