4 minute read

Stocktaking drones

A recent partnership between Dexion and Infinium Robotics will give an accessible and practical application to drones in Australia’s warehouses.

Many major technology organisations are developing drones. These include Google, Amazon and Boeing. Much of the focus from tech giants is to deliver individual orders to consumers via drones. While this is an impressive development of technology, it’s not overly practical”, Martin Kramer, Head of System Solutions at Dexion says. “

“There are always big jumps in the development of technology, like AGVs, like drones or visual readers. Being able to combine these different technologies usually comes with lots of complexities, but once achieved can create a demand for a number of unique applications,” Martin says Martin is referring to the new offering that Dexion will be

Dexion has exclusive distribution rights for the Infinium drones in Australia and New Zealand. bringing to the Australian market. Dexion has signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Infinium Robotics to distribute its latest autonomous stocktaking drones in Australia and New Zealand. “Dexion is always looking to be at the forefront of technology adoption. With drones, there has been many legislation issues, it was really a wild west for a while there. But we wanted to explore opportunities where the technology could be used much more practically in a logistics setting,” Martin says. The Dexion Infinium Scan drone is a fully autonomous drone that aids in inventory management for full pallets and reconciles differences with warehouse management systems automatically. “The real point of difference with this kind of application for drone technology is that the drone operates with an automated guided vehicle (AGV),” Martin explains.

According to Martin, this kind of combination has never been done before but offers a number of benefits. The drone is attached to the AGV which provides greater path integrity – it constantly communicates with the AGV. Additionally, the AGV powers the drone – which means the drone can fly for up to four hours without running out of power. “There is a small cable that attaches the drone to the AGV so the AGV can stop the drone if something gets in the way, for example,” Martin says. The drone can rise up to 80 feet and scan along one layer of stock, then the AGV can direct it to move down one layer and it repeats the process over and over until the entire stock take is done. “In today’s warehouses, the segregation of staff and equipment

“There is a small cable that attaches the drone to the AGV so the AGV can stop the drone if something gets in the way. ”

is essential to reduce risk”, Martin says. The Dexion Infinium Scan allows organisations to reduce that risk by not having to place people in busy aisles and difficult to reach spots to count stock. “Any system that we can design which segregates people from machines is always a good thing,” he says.

In Australia, there is also the added benefit of labour saving when it comes to stock takes. “Some 3PL’s have it written in their contract that they need to count the stock at set times, weekly, monthly or quarterly. This can be very costly, sometimes it’s a full-time job for someone,” Martin says.

Stocktakes can also require entire warehouses to be shut down for periods of time. But with the Dexion Infinium drone it can work autonomously through the night, when nobody is in the warehouse.

“With stocktaking being such a laborious and costly process, this will be a welcome innovation”, Martin says.

“Stocktaking is an extremely labour intensive and costly process, especially when warehouses need to be shut down for periods of time. With the Dexion Infinium drone all that is eliminated and the drone can autonomously count the inventory without requiring the warehouses to shut down and have staff do cycle counts,” he says. The drone can also be adapted to whatever barcode reading system is used within the warehouse. “Whether you use RFID, 2D barcodes or any other system it’s just a case of fitting the correct reader to the top of the drone and off you go,” Martin says.

The drone can scan up to 10,000 full pallets a day and can operate for four hours, the longest operational time in the industry. “The Dexion and Infinium Robotics partnership represents both companies’ commitment to innovation and anticipating customer needs”, Martin says. The agreement is for exclusive distribution in Australia and New Zealand with nonexclusivity in the rest of Asia.

The Dexion Infinium drones are just the latest in Dexion’s pipeline of new products to be released over the next six to 12 months, giving customers access to the latest innovations in warehouse technologies from around the world. ■

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