MultiMix for Robots

The robot-controlled picking of heterogeneous packages (customer orders) on pallets is much more complex than the palletizing of packages of the same dimension and thus places the highest demands on the control software. The MultiMix for Robots that has proven its worth in numerous practical applications calculates the minimum number of pallets needed for each individual picking order and splits the order into pallet-sized amounts that are then packed onto the pallet by the packing robot – and partly by hand too if necessary – so that the load units satisfy the stability requirements. Apart from pallets, MultiMix for Robots can also be used to load or fill other load carriers such as roller containers, pallet boxes or reusable containers. On account of the supporting walls, experience has shown that a very good utilization of the storage space can be achieved since the requirements in the stability of the load carrier are lower.

Multiscience also offers the opportunity of visualizing the picking of pallets and/or other load carriers on the basis of real order data in the planning phase of robot systems with MultiMix for Robots. This means that the performance and efficiency of alternative robot systems can be analysed.

MultiMix for Robots receives the information necessary for automatic picking from the Warehouse Management System.

MultiMix for Robots takes into account the characteristics of both the robot and gripper, e.g.

  • from which sides can the robot access the picking pallets,
  • whether the gripper is able to pick up and put down several packages alongside or on top of each other.

Further restrictions that can be taken into account by MultiMix for Robots include

  • maximum loading height and maximum overall weight per load carrier,
  • article-specific fragility and stackability,
  • special customer-specific requirements on the stability of the load,
  • specifications with respect to the separation or combination of articles of commodity groups,
  • specifications with respect to the picking sequence.

The most important parameters are determined by the materials handling technology that is used. This defines the flexibility with respect to the packages fed to the robot and is therefore decisive for the freedom the MultiMix for Robots software system has when it comes to optimizing the storage space. A differentiation can be made between the following forms of a materials handling system:

  • the sequence of the fed packages is specified by MultiMix for every picking order.
  • the sequence of the fed packages in a picking order is specified by the materials handling system and MultiMix for Robots has all of the information about the sequence of the fed packages.
  • the sequence of the fed packages in a picking order is specified by the materials handling system; MultiMix for Robots only has partial information about the sequence: the sequence is only known for the next few packages that are fed to the robot. In this chaotic picking situation, MultiMix for Robots determines the best position for the next package during palletizing. Better results can often be achieved if a limited number of packages can be buffered.

If the robot used packs the articles to be picked directly onto a picking pallet from a single-article source pallet that has been supplied from the warehouse, the task then is to reload the complete number of items for an order position onto the picking pallet for each article since the source pallet can only be requested once from the warehouse. Multiscience has developed a software solution for this situation too that allows a multiple gripping optimization of the robot depending on the current status of the source and target pallet.

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