FLECOOP proposal aims to improve a critical aspect of the Distribution Centers supply chain, the last stage of its automation solution: the orders picking. Order picking, also known as the process of collecting items to create a package for shipment is the most challenging task in warehouse automation. The warehouse staff still holds 90% of this strenuous and monotonous task.
The main idea is to provide a hybrid order picking approach, in which robots and humans share the same working space, combining high automation with the needed flexibility and safety. The hybrid collaborative solution proposed in FLECOOP can impact the market providing higher efficiency and availability rates comparing to current manual solutions. In recent years, there are many factors supporting the viability of more flexible automated solutions such as: the emergence of robot manipulators able to work more collaboratively without fences and the progress in perception systems.
The project technically combines two classical well-known general problems in one: bin picking and bin packing. In bin picking objects of different size and shape must be identified and grasped by a robot (mobile manipulator). In the bin packing problem, objects of different volumes must be packed into a finite number of bins or containers in a way that minimizes the number of bins used. Key technical and industrial challenges are addressed:
- Real-Time fused 2D-3D picking box segmentation.
- Workspace monitoring for safe robot behaviour.
- Collaborative workflow with automatic mosaic design for packing.
- Mobile manipulation for pick and place.