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Robot-friendly Packaging

Automated order fulfilment
 
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Although web shopping didn't take off as fast as most of the industry analysts predicted, it is still big business. Web shops make cost savings by automating processes, allowing them to pay the overheads of running the web sites and of postage. This only works (and they only make money on the order) if the order is picked and despatched correctly. This part of the process is performed by low-waged, often casual, employees who have to be accurate but, in reality, don't really give a monkey's. Still with me? Good.

The idea? Simply CD, video and DVD boxes with lugs in standard places allowing robots to pick them up. Barcodes in standard places and formats, allowing simple robots to identify items and do stock checks. Additionally, books could be sold in standard boxes allowing them to be robot picked rather than hand-picked.

A key error-prone part of the online shopping process can now be easily automated.

st3f, Jan 15 2003

[link]






       Surely mechanized packaging is baked in assembly line - type manufacturing operations?
snarfyguy, Jan 15 2003
  

       Baked in large-scale automated enterprise backup systems. Will try to find link (not a consumer product). Fun to watch though.
Shz, Jan 15 2003
  

       Do you know of any publicly accessible examples [Dimandja]? I’m trying to find a link, but there doesn’t seem to be any out there.
Shz, Jan 15 2003
  

       Thanks for the links. There are many companies using these systems. And although not quite the same as the links I was searching for, they are technologically relevant to the idea.
Shz, Jan 15 2003
  

       Dimandja: When someone says 'completely baked' I interpret that as 'this item exists in the real world'. Are you saying that someone has manufactured a DVD box as described? I can't find it in your links.
st3f, Jan 16 2003
  

       I think that Dimandjia means that this process has been completely Baked without the use of lugs, if only because robots (and other automated devices) hardly need lugs to pick up boxes. (A simple suction device would, for example, do the trick for individual DVDs, movies and shrink-wrapped books.)   

       So unless you want to be completely peevish and pedantic about it, stop complaining.
DrCurry, Jan 16 2003
  

       <aside>But what if I *want* to be peevish and pedantic about it.</aside>   

       For me, the key lies in Dimandja's phrase, "Merchandize is bar-coded..." If you've got to process the items to make it possible to automate the rest of your handling then you're increasing your costs and chance of error. If the items arrive ready for machine handling, then (apart from random quality checks) you never have to handle the stock again.   

       DrC: I take your point about suction devices and freely admit that there are other ways of skinning this particular cat.
st3f, Jan 16 2003
  
      
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