IHI Licenses OSARO SightWorks™ Perception Software to Accelerate Mixed-Case Depalletizing in Japan’s Warehouses

The new OSARO® Robotic Depalletizing System enables one of Japan’s top systems integrators to deploy robots with new capabilities and expand their roles within Japanese 3PL operations, distribution centers, and e-commerce fulfillment warehouses — while also removing workers from harm’s way

OSARO®, a global leader in machine-learning-enabled robotics for e-commerce, is teaming with IHI Logistics & Machinery Corporation (IHI), a Tokyo-based integrator of factory automation equipment and industrial machinery, to increase adoption of robotics systems in warehouses across Japan. As part of the agreement, IHI will license multiple OSARO® Robotic Depalletizing Systems, which use OSARO SightWorks™ Perception for picking, mixed-case depalletizing, induction, kitting, and other automated functions.

Following a technical collaboration with OSARO, IHI has installed a demonstration system at its Yokohama Logi Lab and plans to deploy a production robotic depalletizing system at a food wholesale company later this year.

Warehouses and logistics operations operate in a fiercely competitive environment and are under constant pressure to accelerate delivery times while lowering costs. Pallets are the essential unit by which goods get organized, stacked, loaded, transported, and unloaded at their destination for fulfillment processing or storage. They can be dangerous for the manual workers who manipulate them, especially when unloading, because their contents may shift in transit.

Although robotic depalletizing (depal) of homogenous pallets (accomplished by picking complete layers or groups of same-size cases from known patterns) has been around for a while, mixed-case or partial-layer loads are far more technically challenging and require advanced machine-learning vision for successful depal. The vision system must determine various case angles, which cases are on top, and which should be picked first. It must have the intelligence to choose and select different end-of-arm tools (EOAT), and then ascertain the precise grasp pose to avoid interfering with adjacent cases.

That's where OSARO SightWorks™ Perception technology makes the difference. OSARO's machine-learning software maximizes robotic depal performance and includes mixed-case capabilities as well as damaged box and foreign object detection. A robotic depal system equipped with OSARO's software can return, on average, a 40% cost savings when compared to manual labor. And, as more shifts are added, savings increase significantly.

"Depal is a warehouse workflow characterized by heavy use of manual labor and high levels of workplace injuries. Addressing this challenge aligns closely with our corporate mission of designing and building progressive engineering solutions for people and the planet," said Motohiro Kawada, CEO of IHI Logistics & Machinery Corporation. "We conducted a year-long evaluation of five robotics software companies. Our decision to move forward with OSARO is based on their ability to handle a wider variety of boxes at much faster recognition speeds than other vendors."

"We're delighted to see adoption of OSARO SightWorks Perception by IHI, a major Japanese systems integrator with the market vision and experience to capitalize on the enormous potential of mixed-case depalletizing in Japan," said OSARO CEO Derik Pridmore. "OSARO's robotic depal technology can be broadly applied in warehousing operations."

By licensing OSARO SightWorks Perception, IHI joins a select group of top integrators and robotics solution providers that includes DAC Robotics, Innotech, LG CNS, and Mission Design and Automation.

IHI Logistics & Machinery Corporation (IHI) designs and builds progressive engineering solutions for people and the planet. We helped pioneer Japan's heavy industry and are now a key provider of massive elements of industrial and social infrastructure. Our products underscore our management philosophy of contributing to the development of society through technology. For more information, visit ihi-logistics.com.

OSARO delivers best-in-class robotic solutions to automate workflows across e-commerce fulfillment centers — from depalletizing incoming inventory, through piece-picking and induction, to kitting and bagging of outbound orders. In the rapidly evolving world of logistics technology, OSARO offers smarter automation, low-risk business plans, and its signature Hypercare support from concept exploration to onsite installation. OSARO's intelligent robots enable goods-to-robot (G2R) use cases, where the greatest gains are yet to be made on the automated warehouse floor. Its machine-learning vision and control software provides the foundation for all its products. For more information, visit osaro.com.

Featured Product

Harmonic Drive - Simplify with our New, Innovative Family of Compact Rotary Actuators with Integrated Servo Drive!

Harmonic Drive - Simplify with our New, Innovative Family of Compact Rotary Actuators with Integrated Servo Drive!

The SHA-IDT Series is a family of compact actuators that deliver high torque with exceptional accuracy and repeatability. These hollow shaft servo actuators feature Harmonic Drive® precision strain wave gears combined with a brushless servomotor, a brake, two magnetic absolute encoders and an integrated servo drive with CANopen® communication. This revolutionary product eliminates the need for an external drive and greatly simplifies wiring yet delivers high-positional accuracy and torsional stiffness in a compact housing.