Saturday, July 13, 2024

CoEvolution introduces multi-robot orchestration platform to US at ProMat 2023

CHICAGO — What if Apple and Android suddenly decided to join forces and offer their integrations to each other’s customers? Imagine iMessage on your PC, for example.

That hypothetical merger is unlikely to happen. But a similar form of consolidation is beginning to take place in the growing warehouse automation industry.

Hangzhou, China-based multi-robot orchestration platform CoEvolution on Monday launched its technology on the U.S. stage at ProMat. Already on the market in China, the firm’s solution will allow U.S. brands to deploy robots from any number of vendor partners without having to worry about integrating them all.

The company is now seeking relationships with robotics vendors, systems integrators, 3PLs and others in North America as it works toward establishing a new U.S. office.

When it comes to warehouse operations, autonomous mobile robots, or AMRs, are steadily becoming the norm rather than the exception for retailers. The driverless robots come in an array of shapes, sizes and functions, helping brands automate tasks like picking and packing. Stationary variants of AMRs, like robotic sortation arms, are likewise catching on.

But that diversity of options has created a new problem: making them all work together. That’s where a company like CoEvolution comes in. 

Typically, a brand would need to integrate their various warehouse softwares, like their warehouse management system or customer relationship management system, with each vendor’s individual warehouse control system (WCS) and robotic control system (RCS).

CoEvolution does away with all of that clutter. Instead, vendors can integrate their systems with the platform’s global WCS and RCS. So, in effect, a warehouse operator could go from managing five different AMRs with five different systems to managing all of them under one hood.

CoEvolution’s booth at ProMat 2023 in Chicago features several different AMR models. (Photo: CoEvolution)

And it can do so at scale: The platform can coordinate more than 1,000 robots across an entire multibuilding facility.

The key to CoEvolution’s U.S. offering, though, will be the number of vendor and integrator partners it can stack up. So far, the firm has 42 partners, including large AMR vendors like Hai Robotics and Geek+. 

And according to Long Wong, director of CoEvolution and head of the new U.S. business, it’s been approached by several U.S. vendors at ProMat, where thousands of supply chain and logistics firms have gathered to show off their latest tech.

“I think as companies implement more robotic technology at their warehouse or factory site, they will find that they may want to integrate with more vendors, with different types of robots for their business needs,” Wong told FreightWaves. “So that’s when the multi-robot orchestration requirement comes up, and this way we can help.”

Watch: The problem of robotics deployment

Wong explained that for AMR vendors, integrating with CoEvolution is mutually beneficial. While robotics providers would relinquish some control over their WCS and RCS, they’d see significantly faster installation times and a larger market for their hardware, given the ease of integration with customers’ existing systems.

CoEvolution demonstrated a pair of its solutions to its new target market at ProMat. The first, Co-Pick, leverages two to three different AMR models — like pallet handlers, tote carriers or shuttles — to improve storage density and throughput.

But the second, R-Star Flexible Smart Factory, takes things up a notch. Designed to be able to orchestrate robots across an entire factory setting, the solution is remarkably flexible: Across any number of vendor partners, it coordinates routing, workflow optimization and traffic control. And because the bots are all on one network, they’re able to move seamlessly from building to building or setting to setting.

“We can offer a wide range of warehouse automation, logistics and material handling solutions to customers, with rapid deployment and fast ROI,” explained Michael Wang, co-founder and COO of CoEvolution. “Our multi-robot orchestration technology has been proven to increase storage density, improve productivity, enhance efficiency rates and deliver cost savings.”

The company believes there is a massive market for it to capture. Globally, AMR shipments are expected to rise by 53% between 2022 and 2027, while the market for third-party fleet management systems is expected to grow at a 138% CAGR during the same period, per Interact Analysis. For the U.S. market, that figure is predicted to be 147%.

So, it would appear that the demand is there. And with CoEvolution’s entrance to the U.S. stage at ProMat, the firm is just a few partnerships away from capitalizing on it.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Jack Daleo.

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