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Will 2020 be forever known as the summer of piece-picking? ABB enhances portfolio of high-speed industrial robots with Codian acquisition Startup News: Warehouse robotics vendor Exotec raises $90 million to support international expansion Startup News: SVT Robotics introduces new robotic software platform NorthShore Care Supply optimizes processes with AMRs and carts More Robotics News On a recent summer day, I captured some thoughts around robotic piece-picking and its future in the warehouse automation space that are still relevant today as the leaves begin to turn. These are my thoughts and observations: It was 90 degrees out. I was working from home while my kids socially-distanced from the world outside in our pool, and I reflected on the first half of the year. From the perspective of the related businesses of retail, e-commerce, grocery, material handling, robotic automation, industry trade shows and events, it had already been a year like no other. Partly because I find the emergence and adoption of new technologies fascinating, and partly because it’s my job, I’m wrestling with what this all means for something near and dear: the future of autonomous robotic piece-picking machines and how they fit in with where fulfillment operations are going. It’s a lot to unpack. In some sectors, demand is up, and in others its way down. Some companies are flush with capital, and others are filing for bankruptcy protection. Unemployment is at or near all-time highs, raising the possibility of available workers to fill orders, but the pandemic means only so many can work in the same place at the same time. Then I focus the crystal ball out a bit further into the future, and something becomes clear: People strongly prefer the convenience of shopping online, especially those who’ve grown up with it and are used to it. […]
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