Thursday, November 26, 2020

Autonomous Robots Boost Cosmetics Companies eCommerce Productivity

Companies Collaborate to Keep Japan Beautiful
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – It took a while for internet retailing to catch on in Japan, but it has now accelerated with a vengeance. The Japanese e-commerce market is set to be worth $325.9 billion by the end of 2026, meaning only the US, China and the UK spend more online. This increase in online shopping has meant that retailers are having to utilise high tech solutions to stay competitive.

One of the country’s most successful internet retailers is the cosmetic products specialist Orbis. To keep pace with the rising demand for its products, the company has recently installed a fully automated sortation system at its e-commerce fulfilment hub in Tokyo.

Set over four-storeys and constructed to be fire- and earthquake-proof, the 42,000 square metre facility processes orders for the whole of Japan. However the company says it is the ‘new workers’ that really boost productivity. A fleet of over 300 LiBiao robots have replaced a conveyor-based sorting arrangement that had been struggling to cope with increased throughput at the site since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis.

The robot-based system is much cheaper than a typical cross-belt or tilt tray conveyor and, Libiao says, because its sortation robots are more compact than other AMRs currently on the market, they require less space within which to operate. A sortation system can be set up in just 20% of the floor area needed by a conveyor to achieve the same parcel throughput statistics. LiBiao Robot founder and chief executive, Xia Huiling, commented:

“With their unrivalled flexibility, throughput advances, space efficiency and reliability, LiBiao’s robots have delivered a high-tech, very cost-effective sortation solution to Orbis.

“Orbis’s robotic sorting system is allowing the company to process a higher quota of products in a shorter space of time and within a smaller space. The gains in efficiency the company has experienced have been almost immediate, meaning savings will impact the business straightaway.”

The LiBiao robots have certainly driven productivity gains for Orbis. The site’s processing capacity has risen from 1,800 parcels per hour to 2,400 parcels per hour, a throughput increase of some 30%.

And, because the robots operate in an area of just 1,800 square metres, significantly less space than the previous system, Orbis has been able to free up some 200 m2 inside the facility, which it has converted into extra storage area.