The robotic arm automates parcel sortation to enable hubs and gateways to handle greater volumes, particularly during peak season
Installed in Singapore and South Korea, the robot can sort over 1,000 small parcels per hour, increasing efficiency by at least 40%
In 2020, DHL Express recorded a 17.3% year-on-year increase in shipment volume across Asia Pacific during the peak months of November and December
DHL Express has introduced a smart sortation robot in two Asian countries to manage the increase in shipment volumes being fueled by the growth of e-commerce.
The AI-powered (artificial intelligence) robotic arm, called DHLBot, has been installed in Singapore and South Korea to automate parcel sortation and complement manual sortation of small parcels.
It is also expected to enable hubs and gateways to handle greater volumes, particularly during peak season, while increasing overall operational efficiency by at least 40%.
“Sorting parcels might seem like a straightforward process but it actually takes a lot of time, effort and precision to ensure that they get to their addressees without a hitch! These innovations, however minor they seem, will really boost our employees’ and operations’ productivity and efficiency,” said Ken Lee, CEO of DHL Express Asia Pacific.
DHL Express partnered with Dorabot, an AI-powered robotic solution provider, to implement the robot following a successful pilot that saw a significant boost in parcel sortation productivity and service quality.
This innovation is especially critical given the consistent growth in shipment volume witnessed across Asia Pacific, the international express service provider said. In 2020, DHL Express recorded a 17.3% year-on-year increase in shipment volume during the peak months of November and December.
Capable of sorting over 1,000 small parcels per hour with 99% accuracy, the DHLBot reduces the probability of mis-sorting, thereby removing the need for secondary sorting.
“This smart sortation robot enables us to manage the increasing growth of shipment and parcel volume driven by the rise of cross-border e-commerce. It also translates to a safer work environment for our employees, as it lifts their efficiency during peak season when labor demand is high,” said Sean Wall, executive vice president for network operations & aviation at DHL Express Asia Pacific.
State-of-the-art 3D and barcode cameras scan the airway bill on each package for its targeted destination as it travels through the conveyor belt. The AI-powered DHLBot, positioned at the end of the conveyor belt, then receives the packages’ information and their destination and intelligently sorts them into respective delivery bins that sit on racks surrounding the robot, each representing an individual courier route.
“This entire process reduces the dependency on employees to manually read waybills and sort parcels, allowing them to have more time for route planning,” the company said.
Photo courtesy of DHL