Online Grocery Orders Could be a Robotics Gold Rush

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Tompkins Robotics Staff
Tompkins Robotics Staff

Big grocery retailers need coherent e-commerce strategies sooner rather than later. But those strategies aren’t easy to come by, Mike Futch, CEO of Tompkins Robotics, said.

Tompkins Robotics is a subsidiary of supply chain firm Tompkins International. Its product is t-Sort, an army of independent, wheeled robots that — you guessed it — sort things. For grocers, automated sorting reduces labor costs and makes online order fulfillment easier.

Futch said that even before the pandemic, nonstop prognosticating about e-commerce and the future of brick and mortar left many of his clients disoriented.

“They’ve been bombarded with a lot of pundits and people who are forecasting where the market’s going and what they need to do,” he said. “And I’ll be honest with you: There’s a fair number of people out there who aren’t really sure how to go forward.”

That could also be due to the sheer number of options. 

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In response to COVID-19 and limiting travel, Tompkins Robotics is now offering interactive virtual tours using a variety of stationary and roaming cameras throughout the facility.  We have the capability to demonstrate five t-Sort systems with various configurations, robots and functionalities.  The main demonstration system includes three different induction types: manual, robotic and A-frame.  Our systems are capable of e-commerce order fulfillment, store replenishment, backroom and parcel / postal sortation.  We can demonstrate the original t-Sort robotic system in multiple dual level configurations and an elevator system to move robots between the levels.  Our larger t-Sort Plus robots run on single level systems with both tilt tray and crossbelt options.  In the very near future we will demonstrate the new t-Sort Mini in an additional system. We have a wide variety of inventory to demonstrate products including general merchandise, apparel, grocery, fragile goods, odd sizes and shapes and a wide range of product weights.  You will also have a chance to learn about the technologies that are integrated into our system such as automated induction, automated charging, integrated weight and dimension capture, our proprietary wireless network and Warehouse Execution System (WES), new innovations such as our automated sorter exit solution and more.  And if mobility and flexibility are important to you, we can demonstrate how easy it is to reconfigure a system, remove or add a sort table, and even fold a table into a smaller footprint for move or transport.