End user Success Story: Teva

Agile transport robots for order picking

Transpharm Logistik GmbH (Teva Group) carries out logistics orders for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. For this purpose, a variety of different goods, merchandise and products have to be brought together at its warehouse. With the help of the XITO platform, the company, a member of the Teva Group, has implemented a robotics system for picking orders at its Neu-Ulm site.

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Teva GmbH
Ulm, Germany
Worldwide acting group
THE Challenge

Custom automation solution

Assembling special products for pharmacies and preparing them for shipment is customised work. Package sizes vary depending on the order and there are always different products to be picked in different quantities. At the external warehouse of Transpharm Logistik GmbH in Neu-Ulm, Germany, this task was mainly carried out manually. For the employees, this meant covering long distances, constantly crossing back and forth between rows of shelves and the packing station. Automation using robotics was to make these processes easier.

The goal was not to automate the entire order picking process since many different items are often only sporadically needed. From the very beginning, it was considered to be easier and more economical to automate the transports between the rows of shelves and the packing station. Conventional conveyor systems, such as roller conveyors, belt or chain wheels, were ruled out because they are simply not flexible enough. This was why autonomous mobile robots were chosen. However, the systems offered on the market are not only expensive to purchase, they also require lengthy adjustments to the specific on-site requirements.

A cost-efficient solution was also needed that could be developed quickly and easily and integrated into the processes in an equally uncomplicated way.  The project was also to have a pilot character for Transpharm Logistik GmbH: Can robotics technology meet the desired requirements? Can it be put into practice quickly and without risk? Can it be easily expanded? Will employees accept it?
the solution

Customised transport robots, assembled with the XITO modular system

Without any specific expertise required, the XITO platform makes it possible to put together robot solutions using a modular system that meets the requirements of each specific case. The customer describes the faced challenge in the first step. The platform analyses the input and then suggests modules that are available on the XITO marketplace along with suitable partners for implementation. For the planned partial automation of product picking at Transpharm Logistik GmbH, for instance, modules were needed that enable the transport robots to autonomously drive and swerve, dock, transfer crates and much more.

The building blocks in question each come from third-party manufacturers. Thanks to the XITO software, however, the modules are compatible with each other and can thus be combined as needed to form an application-based solution. As a result, a fleet of robots was put together quickly and easily to support staff in order picking. When instructed, the robot brings the transport containers to an employee in the warehouse. The employee places the desired items in the transport container. Once this is finished, the employee sends the robot with the transport container to the packing station where the robot delivers the transport container fully automatically and returns to the employee with an empty transport container. Thanks to a fleet of transport robots, employees can load the next robot in the meantime.
The result

Successful introduction of a robotics solution

The fact that employees no longer spend time walking around the warehouse quickly led to acceptance of the solution, but this was not the only reason. “It is surprisingly positive to work with the robot,” Frank Niedt, Head of Distribution Special Products at Teva Germany, summarises his experience with the transport robots: “It's fun and we can shorten the distances to cover.”

In view of the consistently positive response, Gerhard Röder, Director of Logistics at Teva Germany, is also certain: “The experience gained confirms our decision to start with a simple approach, to rely on staff feedback and to continue developing the solution. We have made a successful pilot and are now tackling the step-by-step incorporation of robotics solutions into our everyday processes.”

Our decision for robots is confirmed

"We have made a successful pilot and are now tackling the step-by-step incorporation of robotics solutions into our everyday processes."

Gerhard Röder, Direktor Logistik
TEVA Germany (Transpharm GmbH)

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what's inside?

XITO Modules used for this Application

An excerpt of modules from the XITO Marketplace that have been used in this application:
Triton localization
FESTO Robotino robot base
Sick S300 LAserscanner
user interface
Servicerobotics research partner