299 Robots to amplify the human potential

Blog Post
Radial Europe partnered with Dematic to implement a revolutionary goods-to-person order fulfillment system at their Groningen facility. This system utilizes 299 AMRs, the largest deployment in Europe, to collaborate with human employees and achieve significant efficiency gains.

The customer needed a solution that would reduce storage space, shorten turnaround times and increase picking productivity.

Radial Europe built a 26,000 m2 automated facility in Groningen, and partnered up with warehouse automation specialist Dematic and its partner Quicktron Robotics, autonomous mobile robot producer.

Great Partnership

Dematic is leader in innovative, integrated supply chain automation technologies, software and services. Part of the KION Group since 2016, they partnered with Radial Europe by enabling an unprecedented automation boost: 299 AMRs, spread across 45 pick and pack stations, to revolutionize automation at Radial’s logistics center in Groningen.

“The key to success lies in a coherent overall concept,” says Francis De Backer, Managing Director Dematic NV.

“In view of Radial Europe’s enormous growth in recent years, there was a need to optimize the warehouse processes. The aim was to increase efficiency in the handling of several million parcels a year.”

Unprecedented Automation Boost

Driven by huge growth, Radial Europe sought to optimize warehouse processes at its massive 26,000-square-meter Groningen facility. Dematic, a global leader in intralogistics solutions, conducted comprehensive analyses and identified AMRs as the key to achieving Radial Europe’s efficiency goals.

A Collaborative Symphony

Francis De Backer emphasizes the project’s unique nature: “This wasn’t just about deploying AMRs; it was about designing and implementing a large-scale, integrated goods-to-person system where robots seamlessly collaborate with up to 200 human employees.”

The AMR Advantage

The 299 AMRs handle a variety of tasks within the complex:

  • Transporting pallets from the warehouse entrance to designated zones.
  • Delivering empty containers to picking stations and transferring filled ones to storage areas.

Intelligence in Motion

Dematic’s advanced software solutions are the brains behind the brawn. These software algorithms autonomously generate orders, map efficient routes, and ensure seamless interaction between AMRs and warehouse infrastructure.

Safety First

Safety is paramount. Kevin Heath, Director Global Robotics at Dematic, highlights the project’s robust safety measures: “We’ve implemented industry-leading safety protocols specifically designed for this innovative technology.” Sensors and cameras enable AMRs to detect obstacles and adjust their movements accordingly, fostering a safe work environment for human employees.

Human-Robot Symbiosis

The system capitalizes on the strengths of both humans and machines. AMRs handle repetitive tasks like transporting goods, while human employees focus on value-added activities like quality control and handling special items.

The Future of Fulfillment

Francis De Backer anticipates a surge in demand for AMR-based solutions: “The cost-efficiency and ease of implementation compared to traditional conveyor systems make AMRs highly attractive. However, the future lies in hybrid solutions that combine AMRs with the high-throughput capabilities of conveyors.”

Mutual Success

Dries De Love, Executive Vice President at Radial Europe, is thrilled with the results: “This solution translates to increased efficiency, improved customer service, lower costs, and a safer, more ergonomic work environment for our employees. Overall, it’s a win-win for everyone.”