ArcBest launches Vaux Smart Autonomy to unlock supply chain efficiencies

Vaux Smart Autonomy enables multiple automated lift trucks to handle materials.
Vaux Smart Autonomy enables multiple automated lift trucks to handle materials. Source: ArcBest

A combination of technologies offers supply chains flexibility and autonomy. Integrated logistics provider ArcBest Corp. last week announced Vaux Smart Autonomy, the latest offering in its Vaux Freight Movement System suite. It combines autonomous forklifts and reach trucks, intelligent software, and remote teleoperation capabilities for materials handling in warehouses, distribution centers, and factories.

The Fort Smith, Ark.-based company claimed that by keeping humans in the loop, Vaux Smart Autonomy is flexible “out of the box” to handle variable facilities, processes, and product characteristics.

“Our commitment to innovation and ongoing investments in technology continue to drive ArcBest’s profitable growth and our customers’ success,” said Judy R. McReynolds, ArcBest chairman, president and CEO, in a release.

“As supply chains become increasingly complex, we are introducing transformational innovations to the market that help our customers achieve their financial and operational objectives,” she said. “Vaux Smart Autonomy will revolutionize material handling for customers, helping to optimize and unlock greater efficiencies in their warehouses, distribution centers, and the overall supply chain.”

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ArcBest invests in innovation

Founded in 1923, ArcBest claimed that it has the technology, expertise, and scale can meet shippers’ needs — from ground, air, and ocean transportation to fully managed supply chains. The multibillion-dollar company recently celebrated its centennial and has 15,000 employees across 250 campuses and service centers.

ArcBest said it technologies are rooted in its ability to listen, track trends, and invest $175 million annually in improving supply chain efficiency.

Vaux Smart Autonomy builds on the company’s suite of hardware and software, the Vaux Freight Movement System, which ArcBest said uses a mobile platform to transform how freight is loaded, unloaded, and transferred.

Vaux Smart Autonomy offers multiple modes

“Vaux Smart Autonomy integrates easily with existing facilities and workflows, making it a practical solution for real-world products in real-world environments and making autonomy possible for businesses across industries,” asserted ArcBest.

The company said its autonomous mobile robot (AMR) forklift and reach-truck fleet is able to operate in autonomous, remote, or manual modes. The systems include software, sensors, and cameras to safely navigate a warehouse; detect and identify pallets and racking systems; and perform tasks such as loading and unloading, moving goods and stacking pallets.

In addition, Vaux Smart Autonomy includes capabilities such as include advanced dimensioning and 2D barcoding functionality, said ArcBest. A teleoperator center remotely monitors many AMRs simultaneously and can take over operations remotely when the vehicles require human assistance.

Vaux Smart Autonomy includes teleoperation for troubleshooting. Source: ArcBest
Vaux Smart Autonomy includes teleoperation for troubleshooting. Source: ArcBest

Vaux suite provides synergies

“While Vaux Freight Movement System and Vaux Smart Autonomy can operate independently, when used together, they offer synergies that make supply chains even more efficient,” said ArcBest.

“With the Vaux Freight Movement System, a mobile platform can be pulled off a trailer at the dock in one movement, allowing an entire trailer to be completely unloaded in under five minutes,” it explained in a blog post. “Once the Vaux mobile platform is off the trailer and on the dock, Vaux Smart Autonomy forklifts and reach trucks can access all four sides to complete the material handling processes autonomously.”

The company claimed that its Vaux suite “provides the only end-to-end efficient autonomous warehouse materials movement solution in the industry, building efficiencies and solving for ever-changing logistics complexities.”

“ArcBest is investing in and developing groundbreaking technology that advances the global supply chain, and we have a legacy of solving problems in new ways,” stated Michael Newcity, chief innovation officer of ArcBest and president of ArcBest Technologies. “Vaux Smart Autonomy is a perfect example of our pragmatic approach to innovation.”

“Today, businesses are facing challenges in their material handling processes, particularly when it comes to productivity, labor availability and safety,” he added. “They need a practical solution that can be implemented without significant facility or process changes. Vaux Smart Autonomy improves efficiencies, adds labor flexibility and creates a safer working environment — even for companies with complex operations that traditionally have not been able to adopt autonomous technology.”

ArcBest said it is piloting Vaux with customers across industries such as manufacturing, automotive, and retail, including Fortune 500 companies.

Written by

Automated Warehouse Staff