May 2013

This 4,000-ton Goliath Crane Has Laser Vision and a Robot Brain

Ships today—even the massive likes of the Emma Maersk and Marco Polo—just aren’t big enough to handle the demands of globalized trade. So to quickly and safely build the next generation of super-sized LNG tankers and container vessels, China’s Dalian shipyard relies on GE’s staggeringly-huge, laser-guided Goliath… Read…


Amazon ethos challenged by unions in Europe

By James Wilson and Barney Jopson, The Economist

The small, central German town of Bad Hersfeld was Amazon’s choice for a pioneering distribution centre more than a decade ago, powering the US retailer’s march into European commerce. But Bad Hersfeld, where Amazon built a further warehouse the size of 17 football pitches, last week became the site of another, unwelcome first for the company – a union-led strike in its biggest European market. … High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. Mr Kaphan says difficult labour relations will probably prompt Amazon to step up the pace of warehouse automation. “But I don’t see them changing their stripes in a fundamental way,” he says. “They are irrevocably positioned as a low-price commodity retailer and that forces them to squeeze all the costs they can out of their operations.”


New reports offer the lowdown on lift truck automation

DC Velocity-May 25, 2013

Our May 2012 article on forklift automation [“Leave the (forklift) driving to us”] noted that a number of equipment vendors have developed lift trucks that can


Warehouse automation specialists transform operations for top UK …

Materials Handling World Magazine-Jun 1, 2013

Warehouse automation specialists Keymas Ltd have confirmed completion of one of their biggest projects yet, helping a leading UK distributor to make massive


April 2013

Automation through negotiation, say unions

Port Strategy-May 1, 2013

About 160 representatives of 11 maritime unions from ten countries were this week told that future automation in the global port scene would come through

March 2013

Grizzly robot EV shrugs off difficult terrain, laughs at heavy loads

Engadget-by Terrence O’Brien-Mar 29, 2013

Like its namesake, Clearpath Robotic’s Grizzly is most comfortable in the wild. Sure, this unmanned ATV is perfectly capable of handling paved streets. But the



February 2013

Automation: the key to efficiency in packaging & processing solutions Shaun Weston-Mar 4, 2013

Paolo Scarabelli, manager embedded solutions, technologies & service products at Tetra Pak, discusses how the evolution of automation is driving bigger



January 2013

Adept Introduces Lynx Autonomous Mobile Platform

Evan Ackerman  /  Wed, January 23, 2013

This is Lynx, a brand new (and very slick) little mobile robot from Adept. It was officially introduced at the Automate show in Chicago this week, and it’s designed to move stuff from one place to another without you having to worry much about what people or things may be in between.

December 2012

Should Port Workers Be Paid For Work That Disappeared?

By Tom Gara, December 26, 2012

Unions and employees will have one last chance this week to reach a deal and avoid port closures that could cripple trade…



October 2012

Robotic planes, tractors loom behind autonomous cars

May 01, 2012, 2:39 PM | By Martin LaMonica

MIT professor Mary “Missy” Cummings sees autonomous cargo planes and robotic tractors coming to market within three years.


Gov’t to examine technology for automated cars

Yahoo! News (blog)-Oct 23, 2012

Automated vehicles are the next “evolutionary step” in car technology, David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told an


Virginia roads to test out automation

Knovel-Nov 6, 2012

Google has gotten the most attention with the recent introduction of its self-driving cars, but automation on the roadways is a growing trend across the industry,


BHP unveils robot trucks

The Australian-Oct 31, 2012

BHP Billiton has followed Rio Tinto’s lead in using automated and remote technology at West Australian iron ore mines, revealing it plans to run a fleet of robot



September 2012

On the Waterfront, Rise of the Machines

New York Times – ‎Sep 28, 2012‎

Beyond the specifics – the shippers’ frustration, say, with antiquated work rules or the union’s concern with protecting jobs against advancing automation – the debate has pitted self-professed visionary capitalists, who have spent a fortune hoping


July-Aug. 2012

Asciano flags further automation of ports

The Australian-Jul 18, 2012

Asciano chief executive John Mullen said the capital investment program to redevelop and expand the Sydney terminal, including installation of new handling


Waterfront war looms over port automation plans

Business Spectator-Aug 7, 2012

Waterfront war looms over port automation plans cut 270 of its 511 workers at Port Botany by 2014, replacing them with automated straddle carrier technology.


May 2012

FedEx Ground Accelerates Package Sorting With Digital Cameras

Clint Boulton, May 25, 2012

Few people know what happens to packages before they reach their doorsteps, but FedEx Ground CIO Ken Spangler was game to tell CIO Journal how the carrier sorts 9 million parcels a day—and how that highly automated process has helped the business grow.Spangler said the average hub in the FedEx Ground network can sort up to 7,500 packages per hour, per sorter. This reliance on automated systems to sort packages reduces human error of misdirected packages, speeding up the sorting process. “Almost everyone that comes to see these [sorting hub] operations says ‘wow, where are all of the people?,’” he said.

American Packaging Corporation Puts Seegrid Robots To Work

05/29/12 — American Packaging Corporation (APC), a packaging supplier for major brands such as Pringles, Betty Crocker, and Planters, has invested $150 Million in the last 13 years on new equipment and facility upgrades. Following a $17.5 Million expansion of their Columbus, Wisconsin facility, APC needed to move its packaging materials across much longer distances in less time. APC chose to automate the transportation process with Seegrid robotic industrial trucks rather than Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) once it was determined that the labor costs associated with traditional forklift operations were not optimal and AGVs would be more difficult to integrate. The programming…

Amazon plunks down $775M for order-fulfiller Kiva Systems

Mar 19, 2012, Rachel King

Kiva boasts scalable and automated material handling systems that will likely be put to work in Amazon warehouses before long.



Feb. – May 2011

Industrial Robots Evolve to Meet Warehouse Challenges

April 25, 2011

Until recently, industrial robots have been relative strangers to the warehouse distribution industry. But new developments in robot technology, specifically robotic software, vision systems, sensors, and EOAT, have brought about a new era.
Thanks to these advancements, robots are now capable of offering distribution companies much more intelligent and flexible solutions. The warehousing industry has been quick to embrace the new and improved robotic technology. According to a study by Paul Kellet, RIA Market Analysis Director, warehouse distribution is one of the most promising emerging markets for industrial robots.


Manufacturing Journalist TR Cutler Looks at How Hybrid Forklifts …
SBWire (press release) – May 3, 2011

In the current issue of, manufacturing journalist TR Cutler noted, “Discrete manufacturers face increased global competition, …


ITW Warehouse Automation Launched at Interpack in Dusseldorf
Packaging Europe – May 18, 2011

ITW Warehouse Automation will supply fully- integrated warehouse automation solutions across the Globe. The rising costs of labor and fuel, …



January 2011

Adept introduces packaging robot platform

Vision Systems Design – ‎Jan 6, 2011‎

Built on the USDA-accepted Adept Quattro s650HS robot, the Adept PAC is the first robotic packaging platform designed from the ground up to address the …



November 2010

Amazon gets Kiva robots via Zappos, Diapers buys

November 11, 2010, Rafe Needleman

Kiva Systems’ inventory robots are invading warehouses via the e-commerce powerhouse’s recent acquisitions.


Uplifting’ Outlook for Pallet-Handling Robotics Technologies in 2011

By Geoffrey Oldmixon – Filed Nov 11, 2010

The coming year is poised to be another one in which operations managers will be tasked with further reducing costs. According to Boston-based research firm The Aberdeen Group, that could mean big things for warehouse robotics. Automated pallet-handling equipment solutions, such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and other pallet-moving technologies, are relatively low-cost, high-ROI technology investments that warehouse operations will likely consider in the coming months, says the analyst firm.


Union conflict on the horizon with automation

Lloyd’s List Daily Commercial News – Jim Wilson – ‎Oct 27, 2010‎

Following on a theme from yesterday’s speeches at the Ports Australia biennial conference being held today in Hobart, Mr Rowsthorn said today automation



October 2010

Supply chain automation may impact forklift industry – ‎Sep 30, 2010‎

A wave of automation is coming into the supply chain with potentially significant impact on the forklift industry, according to Scott Friedman, …


September 2010

Longshoremen’s union strikes deal with Hanjin Shipping Co.

Florida Times-Union – David Bauerlein – ‎Sep 14, 2010‎

The planned Hanjin cargo terminal in Jacksonville cleared a major hurdle after the International Longshoremen’s Association agreed with Hanjin on manning levels at the terminal when it opens in 2014. Hanjin intends to deploy a high level of automation using remote-controlled equipment. That will cut the number of union workers in half compared to a traditional cargo terminal, said Romia Johnson, president of local 1408.


ABB FlexPicker robots optimize picking and packing in high speed handling …

Materials Handling World Magazine – ‎Sep 17, 2010‎

With the UK manufacturing industry now enjoying its strongest growth for over 15 years, ABB has invested over £100000 in installing new robot training cells …



August 2010

Robotics rallies in 2010; packagers automate for profit

Packaging World – Anne Marie Mohan – ‎Aug 8, 2010‎

After the past couple years’ serious sales slump, the industrial robotics industry is beginning to rebound, with food and consumer goods applications showing strong gains. Recent packaging installations testify to the value of automation. As the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) recently reported, North American-based robotics manufacturers emerged from nearly two years of declining sales to see new orders jump 16% in units and 30% in dollars in the first quarter of 2010 as compared with the same quarter in 2009. During that time, North American manufacturing companies ordered a total of 3,069 robots valued at $208.1 million. Further positive indicators show that the first quarter of 2010 was also 35% better in units and 45% ahead in dollars over the last quarter of 2009. “Nearly every major user industry increased its purchases in the opening quarter of 2010,” RIA reports. “Especially strong gains were seen in robot sales to the semiconductor/electronics/photonics industries as well as food and consumer goods.” Recent installations in packaging plants worldwide—from food to pharmaceuticals—provide examples of the many ways in which automation is being employed to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, and improve product quality.

Hull Cleaning Robot for Large Ships

Design World Network – ‎Aug 10, 2010‎

A Florida company designed a robotic crawler to navigate around the underwater portion of a ship and remove accumulated biofilm layers.