NextShift Robotics Signs Reseller Agreement with Hy-Tek Material Handling, Inc.

NextShift Robotics Signs Reseller Agreement with Hy-Tek Material Handling, Inc.

LOWELL, MA — December 19, 2018 — NextShift Robotics, a provider of autonomous mobile robot solutions for automated order fulfillment and warehouse materials management, today announced a reseller agreement with Hy-Tek Material Handling, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio.

Today’s ecommerce fulfillment operations are challenged by labor scarcity along with the need for quicker response time and dramatically higher throughput. To keep pace with relentlessly rising customer expectations, autonomous mobile robots have emerged as a compelling answer to combat this difficult order fulfillment scalability need. As a leader in the design and implementation of customized integrated systems, Hy-Tek Material Handling, Inc. has entered into an agreement to incorporate, when applicable, NextShift Robotics.

Tom Mann, President of Hy-Tek’s Integrated Systems Division, said, “Hy-Tek prides itself on bringing the most advanced and innovative solutions to create productivity and efficiency for its customers. We looked at all the best robotic fulfillment offerings and found that NextShift’s unique design advantage is its ability to pick up and put down a tote. That key capability creates a truly independent robotic workflow that can deliver greater throughput than any other solution of its kind. That is why we have partnered with NextShift.”

“Hy-Tek’s deep understanding of the material handling business and the trusted collaboration they enjoy with clients complement our technology perfectly,” said Mary Ellen Sparrow, NextShift Co-Founder and CEO. “This synergistic partnership will drive adoption of a practical and innovative robotic approach that produces amazing value for customers.”

About NextShift Robotics

NextShift Robotics designs and manufactures collaborative, autonomous, mobile robotic systems that increase productivity in manufacturing and distribution centers. Founded to revolutionize material handling for e-retailers, 3PLs, OEMs, manufacturers, and brick and mortar businesses, NextShift autonomous robots work with, but independently from, warehouse staff to optimize the fulfillment process by increasing labor efficiency, order velocity, and warehouse capacity utilization. Visit www.nextshiftrobotics.com.

About Hy-Tek Material Handling

Hy-Tek Material Handling, Inc. is the premier single-source provider of material handling solutions for a wide range of industries. Since 1963, Hy-Tek and its best-in-class industry partners have been providing customers large and small with turnkey solutions. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Hy-Tek serves customers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico from offices in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Visit www.hy-tek.com.

Press Contact:
Chris Russell, Sales and Marketing, NextShift Robotics, Inc. 781-825-3876 or Crussell@NextShiftRobotics.com

NextShift Robotics Displays Ramp Climbing Ability

NextShift Robotics Displays Ramp Climbing Ability

Lowell Massachusetts, 12-10-2018, NextShift Robotics, a provider of fundamentally different robotic workflows for material handling in distribution and manufacturing recently demonstrated the ability of its robots to climb 8+ degree ramps.

See a video of the ramp demonstration here -> https://youtu.be/kjw0R68du4c

“It sounds simple”, says Mary Ellen Sparrow, CEO of NextShift, “but the ability to climb steep ramps and handle rough surfaces is a powerful differentiator for us.”

“Most robots,” she continued, “are designed to only operate on clean and level floor surfaces.  In a real distribution or manufacturing environment this is seldom the case.”

A real-world robustness has been designed into NextShift robots with the understanding that the surfaces aren’t always flat and pristine.  This is an invaluable differentiator when dealing with the realities of logistics.

Why is that important?  Because in many cases material handling workflows must move between buildings or onto mezzanines with open grating.  Unless you have a robot that is designed to handle these surfaces and inclines you won’t be able to support your workflow.

Often people don’t discover this limitation in their robots until they run into it in their facility.  Robots without this ability will simply stop, essentially getting stuck in the facility until someone comes to rescue them.  Having to rescue stuck robots runs counter to the value proposition of ‘robotic automation’.

Next Shift robots don’t get stuck.  NextShift robots are built for the real world of logistics and manufacturing.

How (Decoupled) Robotic Solutions Free Up Warehouse Workers

How (Decoupled) Robotic Solutions Free Up Warehouse Workers

The fulfillment world is on the cusp of a new robotic revolution. Adding an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) fleet to your distribution center is one of the most powerful productivity steps you can take this year. Whether your goal is to cut fulfillment costs or increase fulfillment capacity, the key to maximum improvement lies in decoupled AMRs.

Decoupled AMRs are a technology and a methodology for fulfillment operations in which orders, human piece pickers, and autonomous transport robots are treated as entirely independent from each other. The robot vehicle isn’t paired to an order. The picker is not paired with (does not accompany) the robot. Instead, in decoupled fulfillment automation, fleet-controlled autonomous robots optimize materials handling by picking up order-totes, transporting them to the next picking location or to the shipping area, and setting them down at the destination without any oversight by workers. This means that the picker is not leading, following or waiting for the robot.

This robot-human collaboration transforms fulfillment operations because the robots are more than automated carts. In decoupled AMR, an order may be held in usually one tote, be piece-picked by several workers, and shuttled from one location to another by a series of robots assigned on an ad hoc basis by the software. Each AMR performs one leg of the order fulfillment transport path, which of course ultimately ends at the shipping area.

Takeaway: All autonomous mobile robotic systems are not created equal. Decoupling is the key.

Decoupling the robot from the worker allows each to go to locations independently when ready. This solves the old “traveling salesman” problem that has long constrained the picking process: while the picker and the robot have to go to the same shelf location they do not have to be there at the exact same time. Removing that constraint means neither robot nor human ever waits for the other. Workers can dedicate themselves to picking only, and remain within a comfortably defined product aisle zone. Robots, on the other hand, spend their time independently placing totes at the ready within picking aisles, receiving optimized “transporting assignments” from the software and moving totes without any human assistance.

This solves the overall picking efficiency problem at the highest level, guaranteeing maximum fulfillment throughput and minimum time-to-ship per order while optimizing labor costs by right-sizing the picking staff.

The result? You can handle your existing workload with fewer pickers in fewer hours. Your existing warehouse space can handle more orders, raising your capacity limit. Your customer service improves dramatically due to fewer picking errors and shorter order response times.

Takeaway: Right-sized staffing, higher capacity, faster time-to-ship, fewer bad picks, much happier customers.

You may be accustomed to seeing robotic solutions for warehouse operations that pair up workers with robotic carts, but that has changed. The latest decoupled AMR technology creates a simultaneous dual workflow using parallel teams of workers and robots. To review, neither worker nor robot is assigned to process an entire order exclusively. Pickers place items from the product shelves into pre-positioned totes, then confirm that the tote is ready to move on. Next, the software dispatches a robot along the optimal path to the shelf, where it grabs the tote and transports it either to the shipping area directly or to another location to receive more items in the order. Any robot can move any tote.

Separating piece picking into discrete actions that can be performed by multiple robots and pickers creates an efficient, fluid process. It vastly reduces worker stress by eliminating lifting and carrying totes through the warehouse aisles. Worker job satisfaction increases, which leads to higher retention rates. And making pickers more productive can combat the labor shortage challenges so chronic in many geographies.

Comparing the use of decoupled AMRs to a manual picking scenario have found a staff of workers can process the same number of order lines faster, with significantly lower physical stress. Now, that’s a revolution!