July 26, 2022

Modula MIR 400x275Two companies in the robotics and automation space are collaborating to unveil a joint partial or fully automated solution for materials handling in warehouses, production and distribution centers. Maine-based Modula, which develops smart storage solutions, has teamed with Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), maker of autonomous mobile robots, in providing this new system.

WIth support for several configurations, the solution aims to fully or partially automate material handling processes, the companies said. Configurations include:

  • Semi-automated picking of single items: Human operators pick single items from a Modula storage unit and place them onto MiR’s mobile robot for autonomous transportation to designated areas, such as a consolidation center.
  • Semi-automated picking with picking carts: A human operator picks multiple items and places them onto a picking station. Once picking is completed, the MiR robot hooks onto the picking station and moves it to a designated area.
  • Fully automated picking of single items: In this configuration, MiR robots are equipped with a robotic arm that picks single items from Modula’s storage unit and then transports them to the next picking zone or consolidation area.
  • Fully automated case picking: For this scenario, MiR robots include a customized top module that lifts, picks, and places totes or bins directly from or to a tray on Modula’s Vertical Lift Module (VLM), which then facilitates picking and replenishment without human intervention.
  • Fully automated with pallets: MiR robots are used to pick large and heavy items off Modula’s FLM model for pallets.

Modula said workplace safety and employee satisfaction are among the primary benefits of the joint solution. “By taking over repetitive, physically straining and otherwise dangerous tasks, this system significantly improves the working conditions in warehouses, factories and distribution centers,” said Massimiliano Gigli, CEO of Modula. “Faced with labor shortages, businesses looking to automate storage, picking and material handling stand to gain more than just greater productivity by offering their employees more valuable responsibilities and a safer work environment.”

With a modular design and quick implementation focus, the joint system can be adapted to warehouses and distribution centers of almost any size and layout, the companies said. This also helps facilitate gradual automation, letting businesses transform processes at their own pace. MiR said the system can generate a return on investment in as early as six to 18 months from installation.

The two companies plan to demonstrate the system at the upcoming Groceryshop 2022 trade show in Las Vegas, Sept. 19-22. For more information on Modula, visit its website here.

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