Vision guided vehicles help bring home the bacon

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Seegrid Corporation has announced a strategic partnership with Topco Associates, a $12.3 billion cooperative and leader in the grocery/supermarket industry, to provide vision-guided automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to Topco members.

Seegrid says the vehicles reduce training time, improve workplace safety, and increase dock to dock efficiency. Because of the vision-based navigation system, the AGVs require no additional infrastructure for navigation such as wires, lasers, tapes, or magnets which would otherwise have to be installed. This also allows Topco members the flexibility to train and change routes immediately and provides an affordable automation solution.

Anthony Horbal, chief executive officer for Seegrid, stated: ‘This new strategic partnership will provide Topco members, who are supermarket retailers, food wholesalers, and foodservice companies, with an innovative vision-guided flexible AGV solution that will immediately deliver cost reductions and create a competitive advantage. Seegrid products help businesses improve throughput and improve workplace and employee safety, while delivering a rapid payback.’

According to Joseph Hurley, senior vice president of distribution and logistics for Giant Eagle, ‘incorporating the Seegrid robots in the retail support centre operation has allowed us to improve dock-to-stock speed and productivity. By providing a predefined route between pickup and drop locations, it creates a fixed time and space between product or aisle, selector, and robot. The predefined route and volumes bring considerable consistency to our operations. From an efficiency standpoint, we have reduced manned travel from putaway by 20-30 per cent and increased hi-lift pallet per hour by 20 per cent. The cost effectiveness that the new system incorporates has allowed us to remain successful in an extremely competitive environment and bring value to our end customers.’

Dave Picarillo, senior vice president of Topco’s Indirect Spend Programme, said: ‘Topco is excited to partner with the leading robotics AGV supplier to deliver an innovative solution to Topco members. The Seegrid solution provides members with a competitive advantage to reduce costs and improve bottom-line performance.’

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