AI-driven robotic order picking system 27 December 2023

Mecalux has introduced a robotic order picking system based on the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to optimise order picking, through a long-standing collaboration with Siemens.

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 AI integrated into the programmable logic controller (SIMATIC S7-1500), Mecalux’s collaborative robot (cobot) is able to perform order picking with total autonomy and maximum accuracy.

Developed at Mecalux’s technology centre in Barcelona, Spain, the cobots have been designed to operate 24/7 and execute up to 1,000 picks per hour. They 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 even 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.  

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