Innovation leads H.Essers to 100% stock accuracy

Innovation leads H.Essers to 100% stock accuracy

H.Essers is strongly committed to innovation. Not only because we are always looking for new ways to improve our operations, but also to create added value for our customers. With numerous projects in the field of innovative technologies such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, we are constantly working on the improvement of our warehousing and transport processes. One of our goals is to fully automatize the inventory in all our 100 warehouses with a 100% accuracy. With Visual SLAM technology, this goal is now within reach.

Thanks to fully scanner-driven processes and periodic manual inventory, our stock accuracy is already at 99.9%. In order to identify and resolve any occurring problems sooner, we have recently started working on a project to completely automatize our stock control. For this project, we are cooperating with the technology company Intermodalics in Leuven, Belgium, which specialises in robotics and indoor positioning systems by means of Visual SLAM technology. Soon, automated guided vehicles (AGV) will be independently localising the pallets in the warehouses and comparing them to the stock in our WMS system.

Why Visual SLAM technology?

Visual Simultaneous Localization And Mapping, in short Visual SLAM, enables indoor positioning by analysing video images. “The automated guided vehicle is equipped with a camera that records the area on its route,” Team Leader Business Analyst Robin Ceunen explains. “Based on the apparent movement of objects in the video material, the Visual SLAM system pinpoints the exact location of the AGV in our warehouse. Unlike other methods for integrating indoor positioning, the Visual SLAM technology dos not require massive investments in external recognition points such as WiFi beacons or magnetic strips on the floor. This was also a decisive factor in choosing this system. After all, we want to implement it in all of our 100 warehouses. Initially, the technology will be rolled out in our pharmaceutical segment, because stock accuracy can be of vital importance in that field. Afterwards, our chemical and high-value segments will follow. We expect the first fully automated stock controls to be operational in 2019.”

Want to know more? Talk to our expert Robin Ceunen, robin.ceunen@essers.com.