ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION, PROCUREMENT & SUPPLY CHAIN
Optoro | March 13, 2023
Optoro, the market leader in retail returns and reverse logistics technology, and Locus Robotics, another leading player in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for distribution centers and fulfillment warehouses, have recently entered into a partnership to deliver an automated software and robotics solution for handling high volumes of retail ecommerce returns.
The leading robotics automation system of Locus allows seamless up and down scaling in response to fluctuations in demand, enabling operators to speed up returns processing, minimize restocking issues, and reduce personnel expenses. The Locus system offers high-volume, round-the-clock operations in both single-level and multi-level mezzanine settings, and it automates a huge amount of e-commerce.
Growing e-commerce inevitably leads to a rise in returns as customers increase their purchases. In 2022, US retail sales brought in $816 billion, and e-commerce sales brought in $212 billion. Both of these numbers were up more than 100% from 2019. Reverse logistics encompasses a wide range of functions, including returns management, warehousing, sales, logistics, finance, recycling management, disposal of end-of-life products and environmental compliance, as products are returned, refurbished, repaired and recycled.
Amena Ali, Chief Executive Officer at Optoro, remarked, “Partnering with Locus enables us to deliver a proven robotics automation solution that is well positioned to meet the high throughput demands of today’s return centers.” She further added, “Together, we can help retailers move inventory faster and more efficiently through the supply chain, cut costs, minimize their environmental impact, and improve the customer experience.”
(Source – GlobeNewswire)
Al Dekin, Chief Revenue Officer at Locus Robotics, stated, "Returns and reverse logistics have historically been high-volume, high-cost functions that are typically quite complicated. We believe our partnership with Optoro will provide 3PLs, retailers, warehouse operators, and others a repeatable, efficient, and proven solution.”
(Source – GlobeNewswire)
Founded in 2010, and headquartered in Washington, Optoro is the leader in returns technology for retailers and brands. With the help of data science, it automates decisions in real-time to make the returns process better for customers, businesses, and the environment. It connects a simple online returns portal to the warehouse's processing and resale software, offering robust solutions to improve results at every step of the returns process. Major retailers and brands like American Eagle, Best Buy, Staples, and IKEA rely on Optoro's technology to turn returns into a strategic advantage and facilitate sustainability efforts throughout the supply chain.
MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY, ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION
Machina Labs | March 20, 2023
Machina Labs today announced that the United States Air Force (USAF) has awarded Machina Labs $1.6M to advance and accelerate the development of its robotic technology for manufacturing of metal tooling for high-rate production of composites.
Higher vehicle production rates in comparison to current rates is anticipated as experts project that the airline industry will need to triple its fleet to about 60,000 airplanes over the next 20 years. With respect to military applications, there is a similar drive towards balancing mission agility, sustainment, and vehicle cost; giving rise to emerging air vehicle concepts like the Low-Cost Autonomous Collaborative Platforms (ACP) program where there is a higher tolerance over limited life and loss of vehicles during operations.
In addition, Advanced/Urban Air Mobility (AAM/UAM) vehicles have received considerable commercial traction in recent years. These highly automated, on-demand passenger and air cargo vehicles are anticipated to have production rates in the tens to hundreds of thousands per year. Lightweight, high-strength composite structures are a key enabler for achieving these goals. As such, the factory throughputs of advanced composite structures have to be increased and their production cost lowered.
Machina Labs’ AFWERX Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) contract will be focused on metal tooling for a fast-cure, out-of-autoclave (OOA) composite processing route. Through its previous contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Machina Labs has validated that its tools have vacuum integrity, are dimensionally stable once thermally stabilized, and are thermally more responsive than conventional metal tools.
Composite tooling, depending on the materials selected and the tool size, could cost more than $1 million per tool and require 8-10 months of lead time. These costs and lead times for composite tooling do not support referenced increased manufacturing goals.
“Machina Labs has demonstrated that its large-envelope, two-robot, incremental sheet metal forming technology can be used for manufacturing of metal tooling for composites resulting in dramatically reduced tool costs and time-to-market of composite parts,” according to Craig Neslen, Manufacturing Lead for the ACP Program at AFRL. “At the same time, given that no part-specific hardware is necessary for manufacturing of the sheet metal tools, it is possible to not only fabricate the tools expeditiously, but to quickly accommodate design changes when necessary.”
Machina Labs uses robots the way a blacksmith uses a hammer to creatively manufacture different designs and material, introducing unseen flexibility and agility to the manufacturing industry. The company’s manufacturing platform combines the latest advances in robotics and AI so great ideas can quickly and affordably turn to reality and businesses can benefit from rapid iteration to bring more innovative products to market, faster.
“We are pleased to advance our work with USAF in order to advance composite tooling for a wide variety of applications,” according to Babak Raeisinia, Co-Founder and Head of Applications & Partnerships at Machina Labs. “Keeping inventory of tooling is expensive. I believe technology will free up capital and allow organizations such as USAF to transition to an on-demand tooling model.”
Machina Labs combines the latest advances in AI and robotics to deliver finished metal products in days – not months or years – and gives customers unprecedented time to market and competitive advantage. Robotic sheet forming is the first process enabled by Machina’s patented manufacturing platform. Using material- and geometry-agnostic technology, the platform outperforms traditional sheet forming methods that rely on custom molds or dies.
About Machina Labs
Founded in 2019 by aerospace and automotive industry veterans, Machina Labs is an advanced manufacturing company based in Los Angeles, California. Enabled by advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics, Machina Labs is developing Software-Defined Factories of the Future. The mission of the company is to develop modular manufacturing solutions that can be reconfigured to manufacture new products simply by changing the software.
ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION
Businesswire | March 23, 2023
Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation, a leader in the design, development and manufacture of advanced robotic systems that redefine human possibilities, is collaborating with Jabil Inc., a leading manufacturing solutions provider, to expand Sarcos’ production capacity for its robotic systems and sub-systems.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sarcos will utilize Jabil’s broad manufacturing services to produce a variety of leading-edge robotic systems and sub-systems. Sarcos also will be able to leverage Jabil’s global footprint, strategic supplier relationships, and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities to accelerate volume production while benefiting from advanced supply chain, procurement, and component-sourcing solutions.
“We expect that our relationship with Jabil will advance Sarcos’ manufacturing capabilities tremendously, helping to augment our overall production capacity and enabling us to scale much faster than we could without their support,” said Kiva Allgood, president and CEO, Sarcos. “We are excited to work with a proven manufacturing services leader that has a long-standing record of success and an established global network of vendors and partners as we begin delivering our robotic systems to our customers.”
Sarcos expects to increase the production of its commercial robotics technologies throughout 2023, with manufacturing and assembly occurring at a combination of Sarcos’ facilities in Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh, as well as Jabil’s San Jose, California-based production site. Sarcos anticipates that Jabil will primarily produce sub-systems for Sarcos’ commercial products this year, particularly the Guardian® XT™ dexterous robotic system and may also include the Guardian® XM intelligent robotic system and Guardian® Sea Class Robotic System. In 2023, final system assembly is expected to take place at Sarcos facilities.
“Jabil is pleased to provide our value-added manufacturing services, which we are confident will expand Sarcos’ overall production capacity in a highly cost-effective and efficient manner,” said Craig Trotter, vice president of the capital equipment business unit, Jabil. “Our deep expertise in materials science, mechanical assembly, and human-machine interfaces, along with final assembly and test, will prove pivotal in accelerating world-class production of Sarcos’ industry-leading robotic systems and sub-systems.”
About Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation
Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation designs, develops, and manufactures a broad range of advanced mobile robotic systems that redefine human possibilities and are designed to enable the safest most productive workforce in the world. Sarcos robotic systems operate in challenging, unstructured, industrial environments and include teleoperated robotic systems, a powered robotic exoskeleton, and software solutions that enable task autonomy.