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Video Tip: Robots at Alibaba, China’s Largest Online Retailer

October 8, 2017

Occupying .7 acres, Alibaba’s warehouse is situated in China’s Guangdong Province

Online retailer Alibaba has opened the largest ‘smart warehouse’ in China manned by 60 cutting-edge robots. These Wifi-equipped, self-charging machines are responsible for moving goods in the warehouse. They send the goods to human workers, who then arrange the products to be packed and posted to customers around the world.

The automated robots, similar to Amazon’s Kiva machines, started working at the warehouse in July, and have helped increase its output by threefold. Each of the machines is fitted with laser detection which prevents them from bumping into each other. Once fully charged, the robot can work 8 hours non-stop, travelling up to 5 feet per second and carry a load as heavy as 1,322 pounds.

Traditionally, a worker could sort 1,500 products during a 7.5-hour shift after taking 27,924 steps; with the help of the robots, the same worker could sort 3,000 products during the same period of time and only 2,563 steps need to be taken. The machines also lift and rotate the shelves, which makes it easier for human workers to reach the goods.

This entertaining 2 minute video can be shown when you are covering robotics in Chapter 7 or warehousing in Chapter 9.









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