Tompkins International introduces Tompkins Robotics, a revolutionary unit and parcel sortation system which has been patented for North America and Europe. Tompkins Robotics has joined forces with Lab Z to introduce the world’s first, portable automated sortation system, named t-Sort. This new and innovative robotic technology will help build world-class supply chains, providing unmatched flexibility and throughput. Our design can accomplish volumes ranging from millions of units a day to a small operation in the backroom of a supercenter or mall anchor store.

The t-Sort system performs much like a tilt tray or crossbelt sorter. However, the unique and exciting difference is it uses completely independent robots. This is the equivalent of having a tilt tray with no track allowing each robot to travel to any divert or induction station independently along the shortest path. This greatly enhances efficiency to maximize your operational capabilities. Robots, chutes, and induction stations can be added modularly at any time with no interruption or downtime, an additional robot can be added in seconds. A unique feature is the system is purchased on a seasonal or annual basis deferring the capital investment and fully utilizing the asset at all times, unlike a traditional sorter that one buys for their long-term growth plan. A typical installation takes only three to four months to go-live.

t-Sort technology uses free-moving, independent robots to replace conveyors, sorters, and tilt trays. It provides:

  • Efficiency – Robots move along the most direct path, maximizing your operational capabilities.
  • Space Utilization – Required space is reduced tremendously.
  • Modular – Robots, chutes, and induction stations can be added modularly at any time with no interruption or downtime, an additional robot can be added in seconds. 
  • Ultimate Flexibility – Unit sortation and parcel sortation simultaneously, and flexes on demand.
  • Robots Are Less Expensive – Compared to a traditional tilt tray system, the capital required is 50% to 70% less. The actual cost is dependent on the size, design, scale, and volume, providing a minimal entry cost for small systems.
  • Faster Startups – A typical installation takes only three to four months to go-live as opposed to traditional systems that take nine months to over a year.
  • Higher ROI – Lower investment, shorter lead times, faster implementation, reduced space, lower headcount, and incremental expansion/capital expenditures, all drive greater economic justification and ROI.  
  • Redundancy & Risk Mitigation – No single point of failure anywhere in the system. The system has lower risks, all elements are plug and play, and there is complete redundancy in all elements to include software, servers, and power. Robots automatically self-charge when needed.

The standard system operates on two levels and allows sortation of a wide variety of goods. Individual items range from extremely small cosmetics to gallon containers of liquids. The system is ideally suited to handle apparel and footwear, general merchandise, single items and innerpacks. Parcels sorted include bags, boxes, and mailers. Overall the system handles loads up to a 30 x 36 inch footprint. The robots easily transport cylindrical and other difficult items through unique tray designs. Given the unique flexibility of this application, multiple implementation concepts have been developed, with multiple, large scale national customers scheduled for implementation in 2018. 

  • Large DC/FC - Much improved system over traditional automation for unit and parcel sortation. Up to several million units a day at a single site.
  • Small DC/FC - Allows automation across a customer base that never before could afford or justify automation. Cost, modularity, savings, and performance allow small players to benefit and gradually grow the system as sales grow.
  • Packing and Shipping Sortation – Allows pack stations to interface directly to the t-Sort robots that can then weigh and manifest outbound parcels, and continue to parcel sortation.
  • Supplement Existing Sites - Allows a small system to be added to a site, acting as an automated, large Put Wall, saving money and capital at a large capacity increase.
  • Backroom Design – The first portable, modular, automated system for items and parcels. Allows eCommerce at large stores, automated order consolidation, and parcel sort to post office, providing next day delivery at lowest cost.

The t-Sort system is powered by Tompkins Warehouse Execution System (TWES), which eases the implementation through its quickly configurable design and is highly flexible with the ability to interface with a variety of host systems. TWES is cloud based to minimize IT hardware requirements, providing a large number of standard reports and analytics that will assist any operation in maximizing the benefit of the TWES system.

Tompkins Robotics, combined with TWES, will help further evolve supply chain logistics automation, improving the efficiency of logistics operations. t-Sort is a means of automated order fulfillment for units to complete an order, and parcel shipping operations, allowing for better planning, implementation, controls efficiency, flow of goods, and customer service. Watch the Tompkins Robotics video to further understand the capabilities of the automated sortation system.

There is a tremendous reduction in capital cost and space in the warehouse for the Tompkins Robotics design, compared to a traditional automated sortation system. In conclusion, lower and delayed investment, shorter lead times, faster implementation, reduced space and labor, all drive greater economic justification and ROI. In addition, the system has unheard of flexibility compared to the systems in use today and is truly a game changer.

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