Wärtsilä and DHL deploy cutting-edge mobile robots from Fetch Robotics to streamline warehouse operations

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 11 July 2017 at 11:00 UTC+2
  • Central distribution centre of Wärtsilä Global Logistics Services in Kampen, the Netherlands
  • The robots recognise their location and surroundings, thus enabling evasive action to work safely with and around people.
  • The entire logistics chain of Wärtsilä’s spare parts
The technology group Wärtsilä and DHL, the world’s leading logistics company, have completed a successful pilot, where the companies tested mobile robots of Fetch Robotics. The pilot was carried out in Wärtsilä’s central distribution centre in Kampen, the Netherlands, where the entire logistics chain of Wärtsilä’s spare parts, from order intake to customer delivery, is managed. As Wärtsilä’s partner, DHL runs the warehouse operations.

The aim of the project was to investigate possibilities to utilise the latest technology innovations in the daily operations of the warehouse. Wärtsilä and DHL also wanted to gain more understanding of the added value of robotics in a warehouse environment and to learn about the human–technology interface between robots and employees.

The mobile robot system simplifies point to point material handling. Workflows at Wärtsilä’s warehouse can be set up and modified very quickly to accommodate today’s dynamic environments, without the need for complex programming. Workers can interact with the robots via touchscreen and send them on their journeys with a push of a button.

“Our colleagues took centre stage during the trial. The robots are designed to work alongside employees and to relieve them from physically strenuous tasks. The robots alone took over a walking distance of more than 30 kilometres per day, thereby increasing productivity and safety within the warehouse working environment,” says Denis Niezgoda, Robotics Accelerator Lead, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.

The autonomous mobile robots have a loading capacity of 78 kilograms and can cover a distance of two metres per second. When the battery life of maximum nine hours comes to an end, the freight robot independently makes its way to the charging unit. The intelligent robots recognise their location and surroundings, and can differentiate between dynamic and static obstacles, thus enabling evasive action to work safely with and around people.

Wärtsilä and partners to develop potential of mobile robots further

This new generation of smart mobile robots can impact the logistics industry through enhancing people’s capabilities. They enable people to perform tasks faster and save energy, thus improving efficiency.

“Our relationship with DHL is a great accomplishment.  We were able to deploy our robots in the facility in a matter of days, rapidly improve on-site productivity, while increasing the safety of the warehouse employees,” explains Melonee Wise, CEO at Fetch Robotics.

“The pilot was a success and, as a result, we have decided to continue exploring and developing new applications of smart mobile robot technology. Over the coming months, we will continue to trial different robot types and technologies together with our partners to further improve productivity, quality and safety in our operations,” says Anne Träskbäck, General Manager, Parts Delivery at Wärtsilä Services. “We have exciting times ahead. Working with robots means embracing a new change, and co-operating in new, productive ways in the future.”

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Caption: Central distribution centre of Wärtsilä Global Logistics Services in Kampen, the Netherlands.

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Caption: The entire logistics chain of Wärtsilä’s spare parts, from order intake to customer delivery, is managed in Wärtsilä’s central distribution centre.

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Caption: The robots recognise their location and surroundings, thus enabling evasive action to work safely with and around people.

Link to Wärtsilä logo

Link to DHL logo

Link to Fetch Robotics logo

You can watch the video about the pilot here.

About Wärtsilä’s central distribution centre
Wärtsilä’s central distribution centre in Kampen was established in 2010. It is responsible for goods reception, quality inspection, storage, packaging and shipping of spare parts for Wärtsilä’s engines and other products. The floor space of this centre is 37,000 m2 and it has over 80,000 unique parts, with some 27 million different pieces, in stock. In 2016, over 100,000 deliveries to more than 180 countries were shipped from the Kampen central distribution centre. On average, this means 35 trucks departing every day.

For further information, please contact:

Anne Träskbäck
General Manager, Parts Delivery
Wärtsilä Services
Tel: +31 6 5112 0508

Hanna Viita
Director, Marketing
Wärtsilä Services
Tel: +358 40 167 1755

Deutsche Post DHL Group
Media Relations
Sabine Hartmann
Phone: +49 228 182-9944
E-mail: pressestelle@dpdhl.com

Fetch Robotics
Tim Smith
Element Public Relations
Phone: +1 415-350-3019
E-mail: comms@fetchrobotics.com

Wärtsilä Services in brief
Wärtsilä Services provides high-quality lifecycle services that enhance customers’ business. Its broad range of services supports both shipping and power generation companies, whenever and wherever needed. Solutions range from spare parts and basic support to ensuring the maximised lifetime, increased efficiency and guaranteed performance of the customer’s equipment or installation – in a safe, reliable, and environmentally sustainable way.

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in advanced technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2016, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.

DHL in brief
DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL family of divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 350,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, energy, automotive and retail, a proven commitment to corporate responsibility and an unrivalled presence in developing markets, DHL is decisively positioned as “The logistics company for the world”. DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 57 billion euros in 2016.
On the Internet: www.dpdhl.com
Follow us at: www.twitter.com/DeutschePostDHL

Fetch Robotics in brief
Fetch Robotics develops and manufactures collaborative, autonomous mobile robot solutions for the warehousing and intralogistic markets. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Fetch Robotics takes advantage of its deep robotics expertise to provide reliable and safe collaborative AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot) solutions for two commercial applications: material handling and data collection.
For more information, please visit http://www.fetchrobotics.com or follow the company on Twitter @FetchRobotics.