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.
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.
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.
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.
Instead of human workers walking around the warehouse, there are now two miles of conveyor belts all around the 144,000-square-foot facility.
These conveyor belts automatically bring red bins to each part of the floor needed to fill orders.
There are still plenty of need for human workers, like in the packaging areas.
Workers here check that each order is correct and fill the boxes for shipping.
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.
This part of the warehouse also uses human staff to pack the boxes.
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.
After the Boxed boxes are ready to go, they are packed in trucks and shipped out to customers.