LogiMAT 2019: Warehouse automation company GreyOrange launches automated modular sortation system

 Photo: GreyOrange
Photo: GreyOrange

Robotics and warehouse automation company GreyOrange unveiled its latest sortation module, the Flexo robotics system, at the LogiMAT 2019 trade fair in Stuttgart today. The Flexo is designed for distribution and logistics centers working in retail, couriers and express companies.

“The Flexo is an automated fulfillment solution that, as its name suggests, is a flexible sortation system,” said Gopal Krishna, the global head of marketing at GreyOrange. “This solution is designed to handle volatility in parcel sortation. The idea here is that these systems can be used by small businesses that cannot invest a lot into fulfillment solutions.”

These systems are easily scalable in operations, adaptable to demand and can have reduced usage during instances of intra-day or intra-week volatility lows – thereby bringing down operational expenses. Initial deployment is quick, with the company reasoning that Flexo’s modularity and standardization allow it to be set up in just 15 days.

Krishna pointed out that Flexo can sort close to 12,000 parcels per hour, moving at speeds of over 130 yards per minute and has two conveyor belts to move two parcel lines simultaneously. GreyOrange is looking to partner with prospective clients for a pilot run, and is expecting to make it commercially available by the second quarter of the next financial year.

Founded in 2011 by Samay Kohli and Akash Gupta, GreyOrange has recorded consistent growth of over 100 percent every year since its inception, and commands a broad geographical reach with its robots being deployed across Chile, Japan, India, Sweden and the U.S.

Earlier this month, GreyOrange announced the deployment of its Butler system for Zalando, a European e-commerce major in the fashion and lifestyle niche. Butler is an artificial intelligence- powered system that works in the goods-to-person environment, helping optimize warehousing operations from inventory management to order picking. Butler robots have now been introduced in Zalando’s 30,000-square meter fulfillment center near Stockholm, Sweden.

Krishna explained that GreyOrange’s differentiator was in its ability to look at a problem comprehensively, rather than an isolated approach that many of the industry incumbents take. “Many solutions are point-based, in the sense that they can move items from point A to point B, which is a siloed way of looking at a problem. Take the case of a retail customer we have in South America – we built up data about its operations from the initial point of sale. This data was mapped into our software, and in time, we ended up automating the whole process,” he said.

“Now, the moment product stocks reach a certain threshold, the fulfillment automatically gets triggered. This basically reduces the real estate requirement at the store level. Our customer can now use the maximum space available for retailing and for improved customer experience, rather than keeping all that space for back storage,” he continued.

GreyOrange has made great strides in the warehousing automation space, building its clientele across e-commerce, store fulfillment and omni channels, and in different industries like fashion, general merchandise, home furnishing and electronics. Krishna was upbeat about the Butler system and also the recently launched Flexo solution, which with its plug-and-play modular components, will help scale the company’s reach to small- and mid-tier warehouses.

“We are looking to build a flexible automated warehouse, which we believe is the backbone of retail going forward – whether it is e-commerce or store fulfillment,” said Krishna. “We have a tested and proven solution, and that works in our favor for getting repeat customers. The Butler system, for instance, is designed for operational scale – in terms of the hardware, software and execution capability. We now have thousands of Butlers running around in million square foot warehouses across the U.S. and South America and we will soon be announcing a few more sites in Europe.”

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Vishnu Rajamanickam, Staff Writer

Vishnu writes editorial commentary on cutting-edge technology within the freight industry, profiles startups, and brings in perspective from industry frontrunners and thought leaders in the freight space. In his spare time, he writes neo-noir poetry, blogs about travel & living, and loves to debate about international politics. He hopes to settle down in a village and grow his own food at some point in time. But for now, he is happy to live with his wife in the middle of a German metropolitan.