Kings Business and Economics students visit Amazon fulfilment centre and get hands on!
Bryan Rumani shares his successful experience at the Amazon Warehouse.
On 15th of January the school organised a visit to the Amazon warehouse in Tilbury, so we could gain more knowledge about economics and business topics and in my opinion it was one of our best trips so far as we gained a lot of knowledge.
The thing that I was more amazed of, were the robots operating in different areas of the warehouse and how they interacted with humans in a perfect way. The Amazon Robotic system was called Kiva Systems. Traditionally goods were moved around the distribution centre using a conveyor system or by human operated machines but this was no more the case.
All these processes were replaced by Kiva. In Kivas approach, items were stored on portable storage units. When an order is entered into the Kiva database system, the software locates the closest automated guided vehicle (the bot) to the item and directs it toward retrieving it. The mobile robots navigate around the warehouse by following a series of computerised bar-code stickers on the floor.
Each drive unit has a sensor that prevents it from colliding with others. When the drive unit reaches the target location, it slides underneath the pod and lifts it off the ground. The robot than carries the pod to the specified human operator to pick the item. The robots were approximately 2 feet by 2.5 feet, and were capable of lifting 1000 pounds.
Kiva's relatively new approach to automated material handling systems for order fulfilment is gaining traction in eCommerce fulfilment, retail restocking, parts distribution and medical device distribution operations. The system is much more efficient and accurate than the traditional method of having human workers traveling around the warehouse locating and picking items.