GreyOrange today announced that Active Ants has implemented its GreyMatter operating system and Ranger MoveSmart autonomous mobile robots at its new e-commerce fulfillment center in Roosendaal, the Netherlands. The 20,000-square-meter (65,600-sq.-ft.) warehouse features the GreyMatter Smart Zone Transfer application, which uses Ranger MoveSmart robots to move and sort inventory in flexible process flows not possible with fixed conveyors or sorters, according to the companies.
Active Ants provides warehousing services to various e-commerce companies in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany with the goal of raising the efficiency and accuracy of order fulfillment through innovation and automation. The Nieuwegein, Netherlands-based e-fulfillment company stores, packs, and distributes goods for more than 250 customers and more than 3 million orders annually.
“The GreyOrange robots team with our employees to fulfill customer orders with greater efficiency while also creating a high quality, pleasant work environment,” said Jeroen Dekker, managing partner at Active Ants. “The setup is unique in the world.”
Smart Zone Transfers at Active Ants
At the Roosendaal e-fulfillment center, Smart Zone Transfer happens autonomously. The GreyMatter software orchestrates the complete process flow, as Ranger MoveSmart robots convey inventory to various workstations. The process begins as the autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) take empty boxes to employees who fill them with goods brought by other robots.
Next, Ranger robots transport the filled boxes to packaging machines where they are sealed and weighed. Then, Ranger robots collect the packages and sort them to the correct zones for shipping directly to customers.
Process flows executed by Ranger robots can be altered as needed through simple changes in GreyMatter’s Command Center interface. With traditional conveyor systems and most existing software platforms, this type of change would typically take months of customized solutioning and implementation.
“No matter what I need to do with zone transfer, I can alter the process flow in GreyMatter, even though I’m not a programmer,” said Dekker. “This level of flexibility allows us to meet our current needs while also having the ability to quickly make changes. We can easily modify the robot movements if needed as well as scale up the solution in line with our throughput growth to smartly manage capital investment.”
Flexibility fundamental to GreyOrange design
“Fast-growing companies require automation that equips them to easily adapt their fulfillment processes as market dynamics change,” said Akash Gupta, co-founder and chief technology officer at Atlanta-based GreyOrange. “They don’t want to be constricted by fixed infrastructure that locks them into process flows for 10 to 15 years. The power to quickly adapt is what gives retailers an edge in today’s world, and it’s a foundational design principle of our GreyMatter Fulfillment Operating System and family of Ranger robots.”
Unlike fixed infrastructure that is difficult or impossible to reconfigure, Ranger MoveSmart autonomous mobile robots perform with complete flexibility, said GreyOrange. Through orchestrated integration with GreyMatter, Ranger MoveSmart can convey, move, or sort anywhere in the distribution center and rapidly respond to changing processes and accelerated throughput.
The e-fulfillment partnership between Active Ants and GreyOrange will be highlighted in the webinar, “Free from Fixed: Why Moving from Rigid to Flexible Systems is the Go-To Answer to Fulfilling Today’s Immediate Commerce” to be held on Dec. 9, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. ET. Jean Lahaye, managing partner at Active Ants, and Nigel Lahiri, EMEA sales director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at GreyOrange, will talk about how they applied innovative thinking, AI and robotics to solve fulfillment challenges.