September 2, 2022
Supply chain provider NFI will be testing the robots in its Savannah facility.
Boston Dynamics’ will be rolling out its Stretch warehouse robot at NFI’s Georgia facility. in a deal valued at $10 million.
First unveiled in 2019 and designed to automate handling tasks to take repetitive and strenuous tasks out of human workers’ hands, the Stretch robot is fitted with adaptive grippers, a mobile base and an advanced vision system.
In the latest deal, Stretch will be used to unload stock from trucks and containers at NFI’s facility in Savannah, Georgia.
NFI, like many other operators, is responding to ongoing challenges with staffing and labor costs, combined with rising demand for production; something that is leading to a spike in demand for logistics robots.
“We designed Stretch to automate box moving, an operationally and physically challenging task across warehouses,” said Robert Playter, Boston Dynamics CEO. “Demand for goods continues to rise, and robots like Stretch can help NFI alleviate some of the challenges associated with that surging demand. Stretch makes truck unloading a safer and more efficient task, and NFI can pass that efficiency along to its customers.”
The pilot program will start in 2023, with plans to conduct similar initiatives at other NFI warehouse locations across North America in the coming years if the pilot is successful.
“At a time when companies need to evolve to meet consumer expectations, NFI has stepped in as the innovative logistics partner, contributing to our customers’ competitive edge,” said Sid Brown, NFI CEO. “With Stretch, we will enhance the movement of freight through our facilities while providing a safer environment for our employees.”
Stretch can work for up to 16 hours on one charge and can handle items of up to 50 pounds, operating autonomously and responding in real-time to possible issues with packages – such as items falling or moving during the unloading process.
Earlier this year, Boston Dynamics signed a $15 million deal with DHL to bring its Stretch robots to several of its warehouse locations over the next three years. Retail majors Gap and H&M have also reportedly signed agreements to use Stretch at its warehouse sites.