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Robot invented just to move boxes

A new robot by Boston Dynamics, a USA based robotic maker, has been designed to do one warehouse task only, moving boxes.

The Vice President of Business Development at Boston Dynamics, Micahel Perry, said the robot had been developed because warehouse owners told him that unloading lorries was one of the most physically demanding and unpleasant jobs in the warehouse.

The robot is named Stretch and can move in tight places, which means it can operate in existing machinery. The robot has both an arm and a gripper. Sensors and cameras identify different sizes of boxes and direct the arm to lift and move them. The robot can easily pick 50-pound boxes and move 800 of them in an hour.

Boston Dynamics has not yet announced the price of the robot but does stress that they cost little to install.

Warehouses are under pressure to process online orders as quickly as possible. The warehouse sector grew in 2020 largely because of the extra demand for online shipping during the coronavirus lockdown.

Warehouse owners are always looking for ways to save order processing time. While a box-picking robot is useful for unloading vehicles, most small to medium-sized warehouses find it too expensive to fully automate their warehouses. Although automated warehouse management software is common in warehouses, most continue to employ human staff to pick order items using picking trolleys. Orders are packed on packing tables, which for the time being at least are also manned by human operators.

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