AutoStore: Paving the Future of Autonomous Warehousing
The robot technology company was founded in 1996 and invented Cube Storage Automation, the densest order-fulfilment solution to exist. It’s mission is to combine software and hardware with human abilities in order to create the new future of warehousing. With over 450 installations in over 30 countries, it is used by some of the biggest brands in the world such as Gucci, Puma and Ocado. A total of 418 new installations were made globally in 2019, up from 104 In 2018.
AutoStore is an Automated Storage and Retrieval System provided to be the ultimate solution to automated warehousing, reducing the storage footprint by 75% when compared to traditional storage space with aisles and shelves. It is the fastest order fulfillment system per square foot, allowing companies to scale up storage capacity 4 times without moving and increase performance 10 times without hiring.
The global supply chain can be a competitive field meaning that customer demands have to be met and maximising operational efficiency is essential. The robots in these warehouses work on top of stacks of bins of stock and use a Digging & Natural Slotting process. The Robot lowers its gripper plate into the stack, grabs the correct bin with its grippers and lifts it to the grid surface. Working alongside this robot, another robot cleans up it’s workspace by putting the bins back in the same order if 8 bins were moved to reach stock from level 9, for example.
The robots use very little energy and can run 24/7. A system of 10 robots is equal to the amount of energy as a vacuum cleaner. The robots are implemented with a self-charge function which means they charge themselves only when necessary to avoid excessive charging. They also use a regenerative energy function that returns power to their batteries each time they lower a bin or reduce speed.
During the current pandemic, e-commerce and retail sales have seen an increase in demand for AutoStore’s robotic system technology services with brands looking to safeguard against future threats. The impact of COVID has put pressure on warehouse facilities and has given light to the creation of micro-fulfillment centres, predicted to be the next trend within the retail, grocery and supply chain sectors. Micro-fulfilment would transform retail experiences into more of a grab-and-go setting by bringing warehouse stock to the store location, managed by robotic technology, and be able to fulfil last-mile delivery and in-store demand for stock and produce at much shorter timeframes.
Grupo Espinosa: 70 years of constant evolution
Founded in 1952, Grupo Espinosa has been relentlessly supporting the publishing industry with producing more than 100 million copies every year – whether its books, magazines, catalogues or single-order custom prints. No project is big or small for Grupo Espinosa, as the facility can scale up on demand and their turnaround times are highly competitive. Grupo Espinosa works with on-demand digital press or offset press, in paperback with glued softcover binding, PUR softcover binding, stitched paperback binding, binder’s board, hardcover, saddle stitched, Spiral or Wire-O. Equipped with the experience needed for a product to leave the plant ready for distribution, Grupo Espinosa delivers anywhere inside or outside Mexico. Traditionally starting off as a black and white printing press, Grupo Espinosa has experienced transformation first hand – from colour to digital offset printing. Currently, Grupo Espinosa is also looking at making capital investments into audio books to match with the increasing demand.
So how did a seemingly local operation in Latin America become a world-renowned printing facility trusted by hundreds of clients? As Rogelio Tirado, CFO of Grupo Espinosa for the last six years says “It all comes down to our market experience and our dedication to quality”. With nearly 70 years behind them, and located in Mexico City, Grupo Espinosa has two major locations – one spanning 75,000 square metres and the other about 45,000 square metres. Both locations are controlled by a single ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system ensuring speed, consistency and quality of work. Tirado says this isn’t their only competitive advantage. He adds “Our competitive advantage is the relationship we have with customers and the trust they put in us with their intellectual property”. Speaking of trust, global publishing giant Macmillan Education exclusively partners with Grupo Espinosa for their Latin America operations, as part of Macmillan’s decentralized hub strategy. Having a facility that offered the full spectrum of service – from storing digital content to printing and distributing – was one of the major requirements for Macmillan, and Grupo Espinosa was recognized as the leading printing hub for providing this 360 infrastructure. Another factor that has led to success for Grupo Espinosa is the absolute focus on quality and time. The staff are committed to providing the best quality in the best possible time, without causing wastage of resources. Sustainability is a huge factor playing into Grupo Espinosa’s operations, and they’ve created a healthy environment with the sustainable use of paper and energy resources as well as keeping their employees – most of them associated with the organisation for over 10 years – happy. He adds, “In order to be truly successful, you need to be good to the environment, employees, suppliers, and your customers. But most importantly, you need to be sustainable, you need to have proper working conditions, pay proper salaries, proper prices for paper, source the paper from sustainable sources, pay your taxes, basically be a good global corporate citizen and that's probably one of the biggest achievements that we have.”