Integrator chooses machine learning for warehouse robotics

March 20, 2024
IHI Logistics & Machinery relies on Osaro software for mixed-case depalletizing

Machine-learning-enabled robotics provider Osaro and IHI Logistics & Machinery (IHI), a Tokyo-based integrator of factory automation equipment and industrial machinery, are teaming up to increase adoption of robotic systems in warehouses across Japan. As part of the agreement, IHI will license multiple Osaro robotic depalletizing systems, which use Osaro’s machine-learning (ML) software for picking, mixed-case depalletizing, induction and kitting.

Following a technical collaboration with Osaro, IHI has installed a demonstration system at its Yokohama Logi Lab and plans to deploy a production robotic depalletizing system at a food wholesale company later this year.

Mixed-case or partial-layer depalletizing (depal) can benefit from machine-learning vision to determine various case angles, which cases are on top and which should be picked first. It must have the intelligence to choose and select different end-of-arm tools (EOATs) and then ascertain the precise grasp pose to avoid interfering with adjacent cases.

“Depal is a warehouse workflow characterized by heavy use of manual labor and high levels of workplace injuries,” said Motohiro Kawada, CEO of IHI. “Addressing this challenge aligns closely with our corporate mission of designing and building progressive engineering solutions for people and the planet. We conducted a year-long evaluation of five robotics software companies. Our decision to move forward with Osaro is based on their ability to handle a wider variety of boxes at much faster recognition speeds than other vendors.”

Osaro CEO Derik Pridmore is delighted to see adoption of the software by IHI. “Osaro’s robotic depal technology can be broadly applied in warehousing operations,” he said. IHI joins DAC Robotics, Innotech, LG CNS and Mission Design and Automation in partnering with Osaro.