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DHL invests in four collaborative robots following trial

DHL Supply Chain has announced the purchase of four Sawyer robots, the first step of its UKI robotics deployment programme it says.

The collaborative robots will be deployed across its 19 co-packing and production logistics centres nationwide and moved between sites depending on the seasonal demands.

The robots automatically stop if they touch something unexpected, which means they can safely work alongside humans. DHL meanwhile is recruiting for new specialist roles to support the technology launch including robotics technician, project engineer as well as other production management roles.

The investment into the robots follows trials packing pet food, confectionery, aerosols and canned drinks and will be followed by a strategic investment of over £1 million in the next 12 months by DHL to enhance its commitment to robotics and automation.

Simon Woodward, director of co-packing and production logistics at DHL Supply Chain, said: “The introduction of collaborative robotics into logistics is something we’ve been exploring at DHL for a while. After numerous trials, we are excited to now be offering our Sawyer robots as a solution to our co-packing customers’ needs.

“Our customers who work in consumer industries are seeing huge fluctuations in demand as consumer preferences change. The rise of ecommerce has led to a surge in the number of deliveries within the network and the flexible nature of Sawyer allows us to quickly respond to changing needs, delivering solutions to meet demands and fill labour gaps,” he said.

DHL is currently exploring how automation and robotics can be introduced at other points in the supply chain too.

Image credit: DHL