Muratec, Alert Innovation to deploy Alphabot at leading sports retailer in Japan

Muratec, Alert Innovation to deploy Alphabot at leading sports retailer in Japan

Automated fulfillment provider Alert Innovation Inc. and Murata Machinery Ltd., also known as Muratec, said they are supplying Alphabot to Alpen Co., one of the largest sports retail brands in Japan. The companies said it is the first deployment of the 3D robot cart warehousing technology in that country.

North Billerica, Mass.-based Alert Innovation was founded in 2013. Its products include the Alphabot automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS), the eGrocery micro-fulfillment center, and the Novastore automated supermarket.

Muratec was founded in 1935 and supplies machine tool technology, automated material handling systems, clean room automation, and textile machinery. The company’s global headquarters are in Kyoto, Japan, and its North American headquarters are in Charlotte, N.C.

Muratec, Alert Innovation collaborate on warehouse automation

Alert Innovation formed a strategic partnership with Muratec last year to automate everything from storage to picking.

Unlike conventional ASRS, the robot cart drives horizontally and climbs up and down, running outside the storage rack to automatically supply products to a picking point, said the companies. This eliminates the need for workers to prepare products by order from an enormous inventory of products from walking around massive warehouses, enabling efficient picking from a fixed location.

In addition, because products are stored in a three-dimensional storage rack, the 3D robot warehouse can accommodate a larger volume of products with less floor space than other warehousing systems, claimed Alert Innovation and Muratec. The system also includes a workstation for product storage and picking, enabling total picking operations from individual order picking to batch picking. This total system helps to realize more flexible shipping processes, according to the companies.

Other benefits from the introduction of the Alphabot system include expanding the range of SKUs handled, enhancing worker productivity, and improving sorting and shipping efficiency, said Alert Innovation.

Alphabot. Source: Alert Innovation

Alpen expects benefits

Nagoya, Japan-based Alpen is expanding its outlets nationwide to meet the diversifying needs of customers in the sports retail industry under the corporate slogan “Making sports more accessible.” As part of this expansion, the retailer is implementing Alphabot warehousing systems featuring 130 robot carts selecting from about 26,000 case locations at its distribution centers.

Alpen and Muratec said they expect the Alphabot system to reduce logistics operations by complementing its storage capacity and reducing picking, sorting, and packaging activities by approximately 60%.

“We are delighted to see our partner Muratec winning business with the Alphabot solution in a highly competitive market,” stated John Lert, founder and CEO of Alert Innovation. “This is a validation of both the capabilities of Muratec as a company and the breakthrough design of Alphabot. We look forward to seeing many more deployments of the technology by Muratec in the future.”

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