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Video blog: Robotics in distribution and fulfillment

From the Intelligrated booth demonstration at PACK EXPO, Chris Arnold, vice president of operations and solutions development, discusses the proliferation of robotics in distribution and fulfillment operations.

Arnold covers the changing market conditions that drive this trend, including labor issues and advancements in robotic technology.

Video blog: November 2014 Executive InSight

In his latest video blog, Intelligrated CEO Chris Cole discusses current trends and technologies from the PACK EXPO show floor.

Cole covers the labor shortage facing the logistics industry and robotics, labor management software and voice solutions to help increase operational capacity and workforce efficiency.

Video blog: From the PACK EXPO International 2014 show floor

In a video blog from the PACK EXPO show floor, Earl Wohlrab and Tracy Niehaus discusses trends and new technologies featured at the show.

Visit Intelligrated in booth #3536 in the south hall to learn more about the latest robotic material handling solutions.

Intelligrated at PACK EXPO 2014: Robotic mixed-load order fulfillment solutions

Mixed pallet loads increase efficiency throughout the distribution network for food, beverage and consumer packaged goods

With PACK EXPO International less than a month away, 50,000 attendees are set to descend on more than 1.1 million square feet of exhibits at McCormick Place in Chicago. Intelligrated will debut next-generation robotic mixed-load order fulfillment solutions to help manufacturers and distributors meet demand for mixed-load pallets. Visitors can receive an in-booth demo by visiting Intelligrated booth#3536.

Where does this demand come from and how does robotic technology optimize complex pallet load building?

Retailers strive to deliver the product variety customers want at a price point they can afford, all while protecting slim profit margins. To avoid stock outs and streamline replenishment, companies have adopted a strategy of smaller, more frequent deliveries from distribution centers to stores, stocking shelves directly from pallets containing multiple package types and sizes.

Robotic technology brings the efficiency, accuracy and cost-saving benefits of automation to the traditionally manual process of mixed-load pallet building. Robotic systems build these pallets based on criteria such as size, weight, fragility and load stability. Robots can also accommodate other desirable load characteristics including shelf location and delivery sequence that help consolidate transportation routes and streamline replenishment at the store. This allows a stocker to methodically put away merchandise in the correct location and display sequence as they work their way down an aisle.

As manufacturers and distributors consolidate operations and leverage economies of scale, investments in robotic automation help maximize productivity throughout the supply chain. Today’s robotic systems offer the flexibility to automate virtually any mixed-case requirement, allowing operations to realize labor savings in the warehouse and store, increase accuracy and tighten inventory control.

To see a live demonstration of this robotic technology, visit Intelligrated booth #3536 in McCormick Place’s south hall. The demo features mixed-load robotic palletizing with specialized end-of-arm tooling capable of handling multiple cases in a single pick, an autonomous mobile robot to transport pallet loads, stack-and-wrap for load stability and a vision-guided robotic depalletizing station.

Booth visitors can also learn about other automation solutions such as automated storage and retrieval systems for order sequencing and buffering, and high-speed automated palletizing. Representatives from Intelligrated lifecycle services will be on hand to discuss system assessments, spare parts, and upgrades and modifications to increase operational life, capacity and uptime of existing systems.

Click here to register for the show and send an email to to schedule a meeting.

The hidden cost of non-OEM replacement parts

While it can be tempting to reduce short-term operational costs using non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, cutting corners can lead to crippling unplanned downtime and out-of-warranty equipment damage.

Read on for seven BIG reasons why every facility should be well-stocked with OEM-engineered replacement parts.

1. The true cost of ownership

While hidden costs are not obvious at the time of purchase, smart buying decisions account for the complete cost of ownership. OEM parts are designed to last and meet mean-time-between-failure expectations for preventive maintenance programs. They perform to specification, with no negative impact to ancillary parts.

2. Designed and tested not just to fit, but to function

All materials used in OEM parts satisfy requirements of high-friction applications in which parts interface with each other. Sure, there are some non-OEM parts that function without any apparent issues, but they may just be a ticking time bomb due to inferior build quality and hard-to-detect manufacturing imperfections.

3.  The generic part may not be the same as the current OEM replacement

Operations cannot rely on non-OEM suppliers for the latest version of a replacement part. Through the life of equipment, OEM engineers make continuous design enhancements and produce updated iterations of replacement parts. OEMs send updates of new part modifications and availability to ensure enhanced performance and true lifecycle support.

4. Generic parts may come with a “warranty,” but it stops there

Some generic parts come with a warranty, but those are replacement only and do not cover damage caused to other system components. Furthermore, original system warranty compliance requires the use of authentic OEM parts to prevent damage to ancillary parts and systems – the use of generic parts may void the system manufacturer’s warranty.

5. The right part at the right time

The only thing worse than inferior parts is having no parts. When operations require a tight deadline to source a replacement, the OEM is well-prepared with installation information and order histories to instantly know operational needs.

6. Don’t risk an accident due to a poor performing non-OEM part

Faulty generic parts can compromise machinery and expose operations to safety risks. Exclusively stocking reliable OEM-warranted parts increases the facility safety and helps shield operations from costly litigation stemming from workplace injuries.

7. Access to the experts

Most OEMs have 24X7 technical support available to find the best possible solution and ensure that operations never take on a problem on their own. OEMs can assist in lifecycle planning and provide key information on “critical spares” to drive smart budgeting to control maintenance and labor costs.

For more information on the advantages of using genuine OEM spare parts, download the Intelligrated white paper, “The value of OEM genuine parts vs. the cost of generic parts.”