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FedEx Memphis Facility Ramps Up Robotic Sorting

July 22, 2020

Plus One Robotics  and Yaskawa Motoman have developed a leading-edge robotic package-sorting solution for the small parcel sorting group at FedEx's superhub in Memphis, Tennessee.

The four robots - Randall, Sue, Collin, and Bobby - are fully operational and supervised by human Crew Chiefs, some of whom are former package sorters themselves. PickOne is the AI-perception software that guides the robot to see where to pick and place packages, along with Yonder remote supervision software.

From revolutionary advances in data and automation to sweeping changes in consumer preferences, global commerce keeps moving forward at a breakneck pace. For FedEx, a company founded four decades ago on a disruptive business concept - overnight delivery - the only constants have been an ongoing state of change, and a culture eager to embrace it.

Thatís why FedEx is teaming up with robotics companies, Plus One and Yaskawa, on a cutting edge robotic technology solution that will streamline the repetitive process of sorting small packages and letters --which are increasing in volume at an exponential rate due to the growth of e-commerce.

FedEx Express collaborated with Plus One and Yaskawa to implement an industrial robotic arm that transports packages from a collection bin to a conveyor belt to be scanned and inducted into the sort. As of today, FedEx has installed four fully-operational robotic arms to streamline processing within its Small Package Sort System (SPSS) at the Memphis Hub.

Aaron Prather, senior advisor for technology planning and research at FedEx Express said, "Having the robot complete these repetitive tasks allows our team members to focus on higher value, more productive work. For example, several of the team members from SPSS who had previously been sorting packages have since been trained to supervise and operate the robots."

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