Freight Line Bulks Up as Fetch Robotics Answers Customer Demand

In the News
March 30, 2017

Fetch Robotics Inc. has added two new offerings to its Freight line of mobile robots.

The Freight500 and Freight1500 are designed to deliver heavy or bulky loads in commercial and industrial environments.

San Jose-based Fetch Robotics’ autonomous mobile robots (AMR) include onboard computers and sensors such as a 3D camera and rear lidar. Fetch’s robots can follow maps and navigate in dynamic environments.

“Our robots can very quickly see 3D obstacles, like tables, that lasers might not see,” said Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics. “It’s not that sensors have improved, but they’ve become much less costly in 10 years.”

The Freight line of AMRs is designed to be safe to operate around people and vehicles like forklifts in busy factories or warehouses.

Business Takeaways:

  • Fetch Robotics has responded to customer demand by expanding its Freight line of mobile robots for material handling with the Fetch500 and Fetch1500.
  • As supply chain automation grows, Fetch CEO Melonee Wise says that software is her company’s differentiator, not hardware.
  • Fetch is expanding its staff, partly through an internship enabled by its research products.

Heavy-duty mobility

The current Freight AMR weighs 150 lb., has a payload capacity of 220 lb., and works with the Fetch mobile picker.

“We got feedback from customers who were hesitant to go with one robot platform and then look for another for moving bigger objects,” Wise told Robotics Business Review. “That led us toward creating new Freight robots to address their full needs for conveying everything from pieces to cases and pallets.

The new Freight500 weighs 588 lb. and can carry up to 1,100 lb.

“Not all facilities have wide alleys, and organizations still want to move large loads,” said Wise. “Making this in-between-size Freight enables customers with tightly packed facilities to move large payloads.”

Fetch’s biggest model, the Freight1500, weighs 1,034 lb. and can move up to 3,300 lb. “Freight1500 is the perfect robot for moving standard-sized pallets as well as much bulkier cargo,” said the 2017 RBR50 company.

Clearpath has a similar robot in OTTO, but there’s nobody in the 500 kg space yet,” Wise said. “Our system is also expandable — users can add third-party accessories like robot arms.”

Customer support

“Fetch supports customers with two solutions,” Wise said. “Our virtual conveyor provides point-to-point transfer.”

“It takes about three days to set up a basic system and get it running,” she added. “Our customers are pretty satisfied with the ROI [return on investment], which they’re seeing in a couple of months.”

“On the other end of the spectrum, we do data survey with two verticals — RFID in areas like warehousing, clothing, and automotive,” said Wise. “We also do image capture for grocery and retail. Our robot does the data collection, and our partner Trax does the analytics.”

“Being able to capture data is very important to our customers,” she observed. “We can give them real-time, end-to-end tracking of inventory and the velocity at which it’s moving. Some warehouses can have 3 million to 5 million...

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