Tompkins Robotics, a business unit of Tompkins International, has expanded its product offering with the addition of t-Rail, an overhead robotic system capable of transporting a variety of goods and materials with speed and accuracy without disruption to floor-level activities.
t-Rail can be deployed in distribution centers (DCs) and fulfilment centres (FCs) and is also used with Tompkins Robotics’ new micro-fulfilment solution to optimise operations in a retail store or backroom setting.
“The recent COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated an already burgeoning e-commerce market, causing many warehouses to exceed available capacity and forcing retailers to explore alternative options such as store-based fulfilment,” said Mike Futch, president of Tompkins Robotics. “The unique overhead design of our new t-Rail system helps both warehouse and in-store fulfilment operations deal with increased demand while also reducing labour requirements, minimising floor congestion and human interaction and providing additional value for customers.”
Warehouses already operating at or near full capacity have limited space to implement new technology. t-Rail’s unique elevated design can carry bulk quantities of items or packages via a hopper or tote. The system utilizes elevators to interact with floor-level operations, allowing warehouses to maximise valuable space and eliminate traffic on the floor.
As warehouse space becomes more scarce and consumers continue to opt for buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup options, many grocers and retailers are now utilizing brick-and-mortar locations for fulfilment operations. When used in a retail setting, t-Rail provides overhead transport of loose items, customer orders or cases of goods between the backroom and sales floor without causing aisle congestion or interference with in-store shoppers or workers, including:
- Transporting totes of picked items from store aisles to the backroom for online order fulfilment
- Delivering completed customer orders to their desired destination, including BOPIS lockers, drive-up windows or other pickup areas
- Delivering items from the backroom to specific aisle segments for store replenishment
In addition to the new t-Rail system, Tompkins Robotics is now offering virtual tours of its autonomous mobile robot (AMR) solutions in use at the company’s Orlando, Florida facility. The interactive tours demonstrate the various configurations and capabilities of Tompkins Robotics’ award-winning t-Sort systems, including the t-Sort, t-Sort Mini and t-Sort Plus models.