Aug 20, 2020

AutoStore: Paving the Future of Autonomous Warehousing

Smart Manufacturing
Robotics
Automation
Smart Factory
Emily Cook
2 min
smart manufacturing autostore news supply chain automation digital factory stock management
AutoStore works with brands such as Puma, Ocado and Gucci to automate the supply chain...

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.

How it works

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. 

Impact of COVID-19

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. 

Share article

May 10, 2021

Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories

Automotive
Gigafactory
DigitalFactory
Sustainability
Georgia Wilson
3 min
Sustainable Manufacturing | Gigafactory | Electric Vehicles | EVs | Tesla | Smart Manufacturing | Automotive Manufacturing | Technology
A brief timeline of Tesla’s Gigafactory construction progress over the years, furthering its efforts in sustainable energy and electric vehicles...

Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy

Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too. 

"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "

Tesla Gigafactories

In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).  

By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."

2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction

Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.

2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening

Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year. 

2017: Giga New York begins production

Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.

2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time

In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.

2019: Giga Berlin begins construction

Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.

2020: Giga Texas begins construction

The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.

2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction

Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.

Share article