DHL Supply Chain to expand use of AutoStore robotics at warehouses worldwide

AutoStore's ASRS grid in action.
AutoStore’s automated storage and retrieval system in action. | Source: AutoStore

AutoStore, a provider of automated storage and retrieval systems, and DHL Supply Chain, a contract logistics provider, have expanded their partnership. DHL already has nine operational AutoStore warehouse projects, and the companies said they are planning for four more.

AutoStore said DHL is poised to become one of its largest third-party logistics (3PL) clients. The nine existing systems operate 800,000 bins, and the additional systems will bring the total number of bins to 1.2 million, said the company.

The partners don’t plan to stop there. DHL said it intends to construct five more facilities in addition to those in operation or in planning.


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Inside AutoStore’s ASRS technology

Nedre Vats, Norway-based AutoStore said its automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) can manage and optimize inventory. Founded in 1996, the company claimed that the system’s modular and scalable design can help companies get the most out of their warehouse space.

AutoStore’s system works on a 3D grid made from an aluminum framework. The framework holds the bins, where products sit while it’s waiting to be moved.

The frame acts as the railways for the system’s robots. The system’s bins are available in three sizes and can be divided into different compartments to allow users to store multiple product categories within one bin.

Robotic shuttles move across the top of the grid to dig, collect, and deliver bins to workstations where human workers can pick the items from them or restock them. The ASRS is suitable for e-commerce order fulfillment and businesses handling smaller products such as fashion and technology items, said AutoStore.

At the start of 2023, AutoStore launched Pio, its Product In/Out warehouse automation system, in North America. The company said the plug-and-play version of its ASRS is tailored for small and midsize businesses.

AutoStore and DHL continue collaboration

AutoStore and Bonn, Germany-based DHL said their partnership will accelerate the implementation of AutoStore’s ASRS technology to better meet diverse client needs. The companies have worked together since 2012, implementing systems in Singapore, Poland, Germany, Australia and the U.S.

 

“We are pleased to expand our existing relationship with AutoStore as we continue to implement our digitalization and automation strategy in a growing number of warehouses, allowing us to better and faster serve our customers,” stated Markus Voss, COO and CIO of DHL Supply Chain, in a release“AutoStore’s standardized and modular technology perfectly aligns with our aim to make our operations more efficient, enabling swift scalability and adaptability across various use cases and end-markets – a crucial factor for us as a third-party logistics provider.”

“Through a standardized approach and dedicated stock availability, we will be able to significantly drive down implementation times,” he said. “Additionally, AutoStore’s network of partners is invaluable in supporting our growth strategy across multiple geographies.”

DHL Supply Chain also uses mobile robots from Locus Robotics and ForwardX.

AutoStore noted that its deployments have expanded at all of DHL’s operational sites since their collaboration started. This has resulted in a fleet of more than 1,000 robots worldwide.

“Our longstanding collaboration with DHL Supply Chain has showcased the strength, reliability, and efficiency of AutoStore’s technology,” added Mats Hovland Vikse, CEO of AutoStore. “We are thrilled to further expand this valued partnership, supporting DHL Supply Chain’s global deployment of automated warehouse solutions. We are excited about the significant growth opportunity that this represents for AutoStore, as we continue to drive innovation in the world of logistics.”

Written by

Brianna Wessling

Brianna Wessling is an Associate Editor, Robotics, WTWH Media. She joined WTWH Media in November 2021, and is a recent graduate from the University of Kansas. She can be reached at bwessling@wtwhmedia.com