Automation, Co-Bots & AGVs Oh MY

What’s more interesting to us? Discussing all of the advanced tech that we can use in manufacturing that may save us time or money or when one of those technologies malfunctions and rains chaos down on the heads of the people we move envy–the people who adopted robotic tech first….

Ocado a UK based software and robotics company is a wing of the Hatfield company that offers robotics to online sellers and to online grocery store companies. Their smart platform,. using AI and high speed wireless couples with robotics to ensure that the orders they receive are filled quickly and carefully.

The Robots .. sporting 8 wheels–that do the orders look very much like food service carts that take room service around.
They are called Hives and they are stacked with products with their tracks made in a grid-like fashion that allows the machines to hover and pick the desired products.

The company says that they can do an order of aboutr fifty items in just a few minutes–but apparently there have been some issues with the process.

Watching the bots is cool as heck and every one agrees they have the ability to speed the process dramatically but they also have the capacity to creat some real issues.

One such incident took place last week at a warehouse east of London and it showed that there are other bugs besides bees in those little hives.

Apparently some tracks or signals got crossed last week and that led to a three bot pileup. In much the same way that a car pileup can cause problems, the machines caused a fire that took more than 100 firefighters and several hours to bring under control. There were a lot of bot fatalities although all 800 humans survived and escaped unharmed.

According to Ocado, the bot crash and fire closed the location until earlier this week. Noone knows quite what caused the robot crash but its not the first bot drama that the company has had.

In 2019 a charging station for the bots malfunctioned and led to a fire that burned down the entire company and cost them about 130 million dollars and change.

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