Piab and Co delivers 500% productivity increase

06 May 2020

When DCL Logistics needed a flexible automation system that could accurately handle the picking and packing of items into boxes in the company’s fulfilment centre, PPMA member company Piab was close at hand.

DCL deployed Piab’s piCOBOT gripper with Universal Robots’ UR10e cobot and realised a 500 per cent increase in efficiency; 50 per cent savings in labour costs; a three-month ROI; and 100 per cent order accuracy.

In the past, it took five people to manage a conventional manual picking process: someone in the warehouse to pick the order, someone to bring it to the line, someone to verify it, someone to kit it, and someone to pack and ship it.

“The robotic system can do within two hours what a team of five people would do in an entire day,” says Brian Tu, Chief Revenue Officer for DCL Logistics.

When a robot replaces a task that a worker was previously doing, that worker can be reallocated to other services or trained to manage and maintain the robot. During peak seasons, the robot allows the company to meet customer needs without bringing in additional staff.

Three months ROI and 100 per cent order accuracy

“The savings provide benefits to DCL’s customers too, explains Brian. The robotic system that we’ve implemented enables us to offer fulfilment at lower pricing because of reduce labour costs, and we’ve been able to pass on these cost-savings to our customers.”

Meanwhile, Dave Tu, President of DCL logistics, says, “We’ve seen up to a 500 per cent increase in productivity by using the robot. So far, the ROI on the robots has been three months.”

He expects the time to ROI to further decrease as the company integrates more robots. As a tech-forward, 3PL, DCL’s competitive advantage is higher output, more efficiency, and better accuracy.

UR+ platform provided certified peripherals

The automation team at DCL Logistics used the UR+ online platform along with the simulator to research and choose the right peripherals for the application. Tested and proven certification for every UR+ product, along with the UR CAPS software, makes the process a plug-and-play scenario instead of having to learn the commands of the robot. DCL chose a Piab piCOBOT gripper, an UR+ certified product and a DataLogic camera that can scan multiple barcodes at the same time or scan a part number and a serial number.

piCOBOT® - Piab’s clever end-of-arm (EOAT) vacuum gripper is now even more collaborative.

Available with a generic electrical interface, as well as several options for mechanical mounting plate dimensions in accordance with the ISO 9409-1 standard, the piCOBOT® can be configured to work with any collaborative robot and smaller industrial robots. By offering generic compatibility for piCOBOT®, Piab is answering calls from several manufacturers of so called cobots wishing to use the company’s unique vacuum EOAT in collaboration with their cobots. Originally certified to work with cobots from Universal Robots, piCOBOT® now extends its reach into the cobot market offering a high degree of configurability.

Through a user-friendly online configuration tool, Piab’s customers can choose between a generic electrical interface, including a standard cable or one specified by Universal Robots. Customers are also able to choose various mechanical interfaces, configuring tools that precisely meet their specific requirements and/or applications. Offering plug-and-play extensions to cobots, piCOBOT® ensures safe and effective human-robot interaction. Featuring Piab’s proprietary and highly efficient COAX® vacuum technology, piCOBOT® comprises a vacuum pump unit and a gripper unit fitted with suction cups. Piab’s extensive range of suction cups enables customers to tailor their own solutions.

Providing optimal payload capacity for the cobot, piCOBOT® including the gripper weighs only 720g. Despite its minimal weight, Piab’s EOAT is still able to lift objects weighing up to 7kg. A compact format and low build height of 69mm also allow piCOBOT® to be used in space-restricted areas. Designed for maximum flexibility and reach, piCOBOT® is 97-142mm wide and its gripper arm is tiltable to +/-15 degrees.

In conclusion, Jan Schieche, Global Product Manager Automation for Piab, says “piCOBOT® can now be used to extend the reach of all cobots regardless of brand, making collaborative robots even more collaborative and, in doing so, promoting more user-friendly and productive working environments.”

View Piab product video here

For more information about Piab, visit: www.piab.com