Slideshow: How Kiva's Robotic Warehouse Works

Kiva Systems wants to reinvent the warehouse business using robots -- lots of robots. In Woburn, Mass., the company set up a demonstration facility to show how its robotic system can boost order-fulfillment speeds.

Photos: Joshua Dalsimer

1. A worker ready to fill an order stands at a picking station with empty cardboard boxes.

For more on Kiva Systems, see Three Engineers, Hundreds of Robots, One Warehouse

Photos: Joshua Dalsimer

2. A computer running resource-allocation algorithms dispatches robots to pick up inventory racks and carry them to the picking station.

For more on Kiva Systems, see Three Engineers, Hundreds of Robots, One Warehouse

Photos: Joshua Dalsimer

3. Robots with the requested racks line up at the picking station, and the first unit positions itself in front of the worker.

For more on Kiva Systems, see Three Engineers, Hundreds of Robots, One Warehouse

Photos: Joshua Dalsimer

4. A laser pointer hanging from above on a metal pole shines a red dot on the product to be retrieved.

For more on Kiva Systems, see Three Engineers, Hundreds of Robots, One Warehouse

Photos: Joshua Dalsimer

5. The worker grabs the product from the rack and scans its bar code to verify that it is the correct item.

For more on Kiva Systems, see Three Engineers, Hundreds of Robots, One Warehouse

Photos: Joshua Dalsimer

6. The worker places the item into a cardboard box, which also receives a shipping label.

For more on Kiva Systems, see Three Engineers, Hundreds of Robots, One Warehouse

Photos: Joshua Dalsimer

7. The robot at the front of the line drives away, and the one behind it takes its place. When the order is completed, the cardboard box travels to the shipping area on a conveyor or is carried by a robot.

For more on Kiva Systems, see Three Engineers, Hundreds of Robots, One Warehouse

Related Stories

Advertisement
Advertisement