Zalando pilots logistics robots for customer orders

Zalando is extending a trial of robots to process customer orders in its Lahr fulfilment center.

After a successful trial of the automated TORU bots at its Erfurt logistics centre, the German e-commerce has extended the pilot with robotics company Magazino to relieve employees in the Lahr centre from particularly strenuous and un-ergonomic activities.

The robots are able to able to reach for and pick up individual shoe cartons, making them more mobile than standard automated logistics bots, which can often move entire pallets or crates, but are unable to pick up individual products.

After eight months of testing at the Erfurt fulfillment center, the two robots will now travel to Lahr for a pilot. They will be supported by six more TORUs.

Through the use of its cameras, TORU is able to ensure that its path does not cross with that of its colleagues, and it always waits before going forward.

Using integrated cameras and scanners, it identifies and locates the right items, takes them off the shelves with suction pads, places them in its backpack and then drives to the transfer station to deposit them there.

Carl-Friedrich zu Knyphausen, head of logistics development at Zalando, said: “We test technologies that take over physically demanding or monotonous tasks from our employees.

“TORU provides our employees relief from non-ergonomic activities, such as bending down or reaching high when grabbing products on the lowest or highest shelves – it’s not about transitioning completely to automation; our strategy is really to foster an effective collaboration between people and technology.”

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