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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Welcome to the Boxed facility

The four-story Opex robot

Filling orders

The AGV

Conveyor belts everywhere

A ride on the belts

In the packing area

Filling Boxed boxes

Preparing for delivery

Working the machines

Boxed first automated location

On the truck

Boxed, an e-commerce startup that specializes in selling bulk items, converted its warehouse in Union, New Jersey, to an automated system. Before then, workers would walk up and down aisles and lug boxes to fill orders.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Now, machines like this Opex make pulling together customer orders much easier and faster. The Opex holds 1,400 bins with 700 items inside that it can bring out to a human operator.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

On the warehouse floor, workers use headsets to get instructions on the next items to select and bring to red bins, which each represent one box of a customer's order.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

The company is now testing out a new robot, called an AGV, or autonomously guided vehicle. It's a rolling cart that uses a tablet display, video array, LIDAR sensors and a Tesla battery.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Instead of human workers walking around the warehouse, there are now two miles of conveyor belts all around the 144,000-square-foot facility.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

These conveyor belts automatically bring red bins to each part of the floor needed to fill orders.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

There are still plenty of need for human workers, like in the packaging areas.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Workers here check that each order is correct and fill the boxes for shipping.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Those boxes make their way to another part of the warehouse, where they are filled with air packets, sealed up and slapped with mailing addresses.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

This part of the warehouse also uses human staff to pack the boxes.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

The facility is Boxed's only automated location, with the company operating three other US facilities in a more old-fashioned, and human-intensive, way.

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

After the Boxed boxes are ready to go, they are packed in trucks and shipped out to customers. 

Caption by / Photo by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET
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