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- HKSTP partner company, RV Automation pioneers the first smart warehouse solution in Greater China
RV leverages robotics technology to help industries realise personalised consumption and smart manufacturing
RV CEO Rio Chau (left) and HKSTP CEO Albert Wong (right) both believe that smart warehouse solution will become a pivotal stepping stone for the Greater China enterprises to move towards Industry 4.0.
(Hong Kong, 5 April 2017) - RV Automation Technology Company Limited (“RV”), a member of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (“HKSTP”) ’s Leading Enterprises Acceleration Programme, has introduced the first Hong Kong-based smart warehouse solution with advanced robotics in Greater China together with DHL Supply Chain, the global market leader for contract logistics solutions. RV will collaborate with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (“PolyU”) to further optimise the smart warehouse solution. It is expected that the technology will help different industries revolutionise their traditional warehouses and embrace the automation era. The success of the smart warehouse solution will also broaden the opportunities in smart manufacturing and personalised consumption brought about by the advanced technologies setting a pivotal stepping stone for the Greater China enterprises to move towards industry 4.0.
Fully automated and refined solution to surmount hurdles in traditional warehouses
From receiving, to categorising, arranging, storing, stock-taking, picking and packing, various warehouse management strategies rely heavily on human data entry and management causing variations in accuracy and efficiency in warehouse management. The repetitive and tedious work nature is also a big challenge for recruitment. Furthermore, the growing personalised consumer market and e-commerce trends revealed that the traditional warehouse model is unable to nimbly respond to small orders and increasing contact points, at present and in the future.
RV’s holistic smart warehouse solution incorporates automated robotics technology to ensure accuracy while increasing the warehouse storage space and operation efficiency. The solution is comprised of several key features. The most notable one being an autonomous mobile robot that can adapt to the changing surroundings. Its application can increase the efficiency in delivering the merchandise from shelf to workstation and maximise the use of the storage area. One other key feature of the solution is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based Robotic Put-away and Picking Workstation. IIoT helps accurately locate the merchandise and maximise the storage capacity of each layer of mobile racks. RV’s smart warehouse solution also includes a Cloud-based Swarm Robotic Control System which acts as the brain of the entire solution responsible for controlling the movement of the mobile robots and the operations of put-away and picking workstations.
RV CEO Rio Chau pointed out that the solution is all about tackling customers’ needs and future operational challenges. Its development comes from a macro and automation approach to respond to the complicated and specific personalised market needs. He said, “RV is continuously innovating. Our smart warehouse solution provides a favourable solution to maintain and enhance the competitiveness of companies in the logistic industry, helping them move towards Industry 4.0. The shifting of traditional, labour-intensive operation to smart robotic automation model also helps companies to retain skilled labours. We are excited about the future of robotics technology.”
Professor Keith K.C Chan, Head of Industrial and systems Engineering, PolyU said, “Industry 4.0 is driving the next industrial revolution - logistics solutions must be more agile, diverse, flexible and intelligent. Research team from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering of PolyU and our industry partner have designed a novel smart warehouse solution for embracing Industry 4.0 in Hong Kong.
Automation helps industries transition to Industry 4.0
To foster understanding and change the current mindset in the industries, HKSTP supported RV on a real-life demonstration showcasing the Integrated Smart Warehouse Solution with advanced robotics technology. The demonstration, staged in RV’s 4,400 sq. feet demo site in Science Park, helps industries get a clearer picture of the operation and advantages of the solution. It also allows them to review the existing traditional model and understand future business needs.
HKSTP CEO Albert Wong said, “HKSTP has been driving the development of Industry 4.0 and supporting innovation and technology. Advanced technology enables a more personalised manufacturing and consumption model. The major bottleneck for the development is warehouse and storage. RV’s solution breaks through barriers to help manufacturers and commercial enterprises surpass the traditional model to embark on a new era of small scale production and personalised distribution model. The solution is fully scalable. It can be widely adopted and meet the needs and structures of different businesses.”
RV is a member of HKSTP’s Leading Enterprises Acceleration Programme. The programme has been assisting to connect RV to relevant stakeholders and expanding the market growth. Since RV was founded in 2015, the business has been growing rapidly and it achieved over HK$10 million revenue in its first year.
DHL provided relevant data to ensure solution is competitive and relevant to industry needs
During the R&D stage, RV found that smart warehouse solution can reduce space usage and production time by 15% and 50% respectively. Managing more than 400 large scale warehouses in China, DHL Supply Chain is facing increasing demand to drive greater operational efficiency for customers. Automation remains a key focus for its operations pressing challenges brought about by the changing markets. It understands that introducing smart warehouse solution is crucial for its future development.
Noel Singgih, Chief Information Officer, Greater China, DHL Supply Chain, said, “This collaboration underscores our commitment towards innovation which we see as being critical in helping businesses remain competitive. In recent years, rising cost of labour and real estate, high demand for greater efficiency and skilled workers, and increasing environmental awareness have provided greater impetus to drive innovation in our operations and the industry. We have introduced various automation technologies in our facilities to improve space optimisation and productivity as our employees are relieved of repetitive and labour-intensive tasks to focus on more value-adding aspects of our operations. RV’s smart solution offers the same proposition and we are excited to have supported this successful project.”
After the demonstration in the demo site of Hong Kong Science Park, DHL will study the feasibility of the solution for its operation in the Greater China region. To upgrade the skill-set of the staff in a smart workplace, RV partnered with Lucas-Nulle, a leading automation training company in Germany, to provide customised training making RV’s solution in a class by its own.