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Addverb Technologies: Bots Clear Bottlenecks

Automation is the need of the hour, more than ever before. And innovation and disruption even more paramount in the health care sector. Realising this, Addverb Technologies—an end-to-end customised automation solution provider that has been working in this space for four years—has pivoted into the health care segment to assist frontline workers.

“We launched Decimator, a UV disinfectant robot that disinfects any area with the help of UV rays. They have been deployed in hospitals and quarantine centres,” says Sangeet Kumar, CEO and co-founder of Addverb Technologies. “With natural navigation capability and computer vision, Decimator moves from place to place and sprays UV rays across 360 degrees and automatically sprays disinfectant in indoor spaces too.” Apart from seeing encouraging demand in India, it has seen a few takers in the US and Southeast Asia as well.

Addverb Technologies launches Decimator

Addverb Technologies has come up with UV disinfectant mobile robot-Decimator, which is designed for indoors disinfection. Decimator emits rays in all 360 degrees ensuring a kill rate of 99.99 %. It is installed on the top of Dynamo, our mobile robot which operates via Natural Navigation enabling free roaming and real time scheduling, finds shortest path, tunes routes and allows change of destination on the go. With anti-collision feature, it can also distinguish between dynamic and static obstruction.

In India alone the warehouse automation market will be more than 10,000 crores in the next 5 years

  1. What led you to the setting up Addverb Technologies and how do you rate the journey so far? Also tell us the factors contributed your success. 

While working at Asian Paints, we got an excellent exposure towards industrial robotics and automation. We had the opportunity to set up some of the most advanced and highly automated factories and warehouses for Asian Paints. Between 2013 to 2016, multiple triggers such as the launch of Make In India, implementation of GST, Rise of E-Commerce and penetration of organised retail into small towns and cities made us believe that the time was right for Indian Supply Chain to use technology to make the most of these changes. I along with my colleagues Mr. Sangeet Kumar (alumnus of IIT Kharagpur), Mr. Prateek Jain (alumnus of IIT Mumbai), Mr. Bir Singh (alumnus of MNIT Jaipur), Mr. Satish Kumar Shukla (alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences), Mr. Amit Kumar (alumnus of NITIE & PEC), started this venture in June 2016. Our journey till now has been very exciting and fulfilling, our initial few days were filled with a lot of sessions with a host of customers. We have been able to build a world class team of 400 engineers and have bagged more than 100 customers, including the likes of HUL, Marico, Reliance, Flipkart, Amazon etc. We always had the philosophy of creating more awareness about technology in our prospective customers, irrespective of the fact that they will choose us or not for the particular technology implementation. This helped us build very good credibility with our customers. Subsequently, we got opportunities to do some pilots & PoCs, which helped us win the confidence of the customer and helped us bag our first few orders. We were always very sure that we will manufacture our own hardware and build our own software, in a sense, we will be a startup which is into both hardware and software, and this helped us to customise our product offerings leading to their widespread adoption. Our extensive experience of implementing several large scale automation projects also helped us in designing very innovative solutions for our customers.

  1. How do you assess the scope and potential for robotics and automation technologies across the manufacturing and supply chain companies / segments – the size of the market and expected CAGR? Could you also throw some light on the demand drivers? 

As discussed above, there have been some key triggers in last five years which have changed India’s supply chain and manufacturing sector, such as the rise of E-Commerce and it’s spread into every nuke and corner of the country after internet data revolution, the growth of organised retail in major towns and cities, implementation of GST which led to the consolidation of small warehouses, the high real-estate prices in cities which forced the consumer warehouses to outside the city & supply and demand fluctuations.

These triggers necessitated a flexible supply chain to accommodate the demand surges & reliable warehousing operations that help in fulfilling the requirement within the stipulated time and in an accurate manner.

Read more at Page 164 from the link below.

Firms hit by Covid-19 embrace automation

Warehouses are increasingly automating their operations due to the pandemic, which is reshaping the way business is done in the post-Covid world.  With the virus triggering a reverse migration of labourers from urban centres and the need for social distancing becoming a necessity, FMCG, e-grocery, e-commerce and pharma industries are heavily investing in automation.

According to industry analysts, the trend will continue for the next 3-5 years.  During the lockdown, Addverb Technologies saw a 300% surge in number of enquiries concerning automation, and was able to increase its order book by 3 times as compared to the pre-Covid levels. In terms of enquiries, the company, which has 75 companies as its clients, added over 20 new ones such as Flipkart, Colgate-Palmolive, Diageo, J K Tyres in the last six months. It also managed to generate business with existing key clients like Reliance, HUL, Marico, Amazon etc.

Automation: Moving Luxury to Necessity

What are the latest trends in India’s supply chain and manufacturing sector?

Ans. There have been some key triggers in last 5 years which have changed India’s supply chain and manufacturing sector, such as the rise of E-Commerce and it’s spread into every nuke and corner of the country after internet data revolution, growth of organized retail in major towns and cities, implementation of GST which led to the consolidation of small warehouses into mega distribution centers, the high real-estate prices in cities which forced the consumer warehouses to outside the city & the supply and demand fluctuations. These triggers necessitated a flexible supply chain to accommodate the demand surges & reliable warehousing operations that help in fulfilling the requirement within stipulated time and in an accurate manner. As operations scale up, it is critical to improve the productivity of people working in the warehouses and factories and people are also becoming more conscious about doing more productive & meaningful work. So, in line with that the demand for automation solutions such as autonomous mobile robotics, automated guided vehicles, picking technologies like Pick to Light, Pick by Voice and Pick by Vision based systems, warehouse softwares etc is increasing as these can improve the productivity drastically vis-a-vis manual operations. Also the packaging robots, once constrained to the assembly line are making way into the warehouses for different applications such as bin picking, pick & place, and then mobile robots which are used for multiple applications of material transfer inside the warehouses. More importantly, during the last 5 years due to the technological advancements, automation has emerged as a necessity more than a luxury.

 

How Dynamo, Addverb’s AMR can work alongside humans in your warehouse and do material movement?

Ans. Dynamo, our in-house built autonomous mobile robot is used for material movement of different payloads from 100 kg to 1000 kg and works in collaboration with humans. It moves at a speed of 1.5 m/s and is guided by LIDAR based natural navigation. Its 2-stage sensor-based navigation mechanism, one to slow down and another to stop the robot in case any obstacles/human intervention in the environment, coupled with the warning &alarm signals makes it very safe to work along with humans. The robot’s movement is completely autonomous where in the map of the entire layout is fed at the beginning by taking it for a walk& then it starts working within it by finding out the shortest and less congested path for a given mission (movement operation). This entire operational set up procedure takes less than 20 min & a fleet of bots will be ready to perform material handling operations.

Some of the exceptional features of Dynamo, that make it a must-have for material movement are:

  1. Robust: It can operate in harsh environments like deep-freeze or hazardous areas.
  2. Dynamic Planning: In the case of an obstacle it will find an optimal path to reach the target
  3. Easy Integration: Seamless addition to existing assembly/production line without changing the present layout.
  4. Flexible Movement: Allows free- roaming unlike conveyors & require less space than conventional forklifts, allowing for narrower aisles.

Indian industry is graduating fast from go-downs to modern warehouses

From manufacturing plants to retail stores, how important is material handling to the economy of a country?
We can look at this in 4 stages starting from manufacturing plant to mother DCs, consumption warehouses and finally to the retail stores.
Manufacturing Plant: In a manufacturing plant, raw materials need to be transported and conveyed to the packaging equipment; from here once everything is packed and palletised, it must go into the finished goods warehouse. In all these functions material handling plays a very critical role as there is a certain kind of inventory that needs to be stored, certain inventory that needs to be received at packaging and raw material warehouses, and they need to be brought to the shop floor. When it needs to be brought, it needs to be transported in a certain sequence and at a certain speed. This is what material handling does in a factory; apart from that when the goods are manufactured, they are stored for a certain period, especially in industries like Pharma it can go for a month as well, because the products need to be stored for one month and different quality parameters need to be tested before it can be released in the market. Otherwise also in India, industries such as White Goods, FMCG, Chemicals and Specialty Chemicals do store 3-30 days of inventory. This inventory needs to be mapped like where it needs to be stored, stacked and dispatched in a timely manner according to the needs of the other warehouse, which is at the consumer centre or as per the customer needs. In all these things, when one needs to store, move, and pick inventory one needs methods of material handling. For example, rack storage, pallet shuttle storage, AS/RS storage like single deep or double deep, etc., depending on the kinds of throughput, inventory, and the velocity profile of the inventory in the warehouse.

In the Indian context, the productivity of factories depend highly on how we move these raw materials, packing materials, and finished goods in the factory. Once productivity increases as a country we become more competitive and that boosts the economy as far as contribution of manufacturing to the economy.

Mother Distribution Centres: Where material comes from different manufacturing plants, and goes to the consumption stores. Here goods happen in the form of carton/pallet and goods out happens in most cases. Storage accuracy, density, throughput of both inwarding and outwarding will be managed by the kind of material handling equipment we use. Also the kind of inventory whether to cross dock, store for some time and if so, how long to store, etc., are all possible due to the kind of material handling methods and equipment we use.

Consumption Warehouses: Very near to the retail stores, sometimes a part of the retail stores, Micro Fulfilment Centres revolutionised the consumption of the retail e-grocery segment. Equipped with the modern day material handling equipment such as AMRs or AGVs, shuttle systems, mini-load AS/RS systems, picking technologies such as pick to light, pick by voice or pick by vision and warehouse software such as WMS/WCS/WES, these consumption warehouses enable delivery within 2-4 hours of ordering.

Retail Stores: For the goods to reach the retail stores, there is primary transportation where in from manufacturing plant to distribution centre in case of manufacturer, in case of organised retail, purchasing happens from mother distribution centre to either consumer warehouse and from a consumer warehouse to retail store. This plays an important role to the economy due to the sheer amount of work involved and the complexity of the material handling involved to achieve the objectives of customer satisfaction, low cost operations and overall supply chain efficiency.

The crucial role material handling plays in production, logistics and warehousing.

he manufacturing industry is still heavily reliant on conventional MHE even as automated options are available. What are the impediments in modernisation? Sangeet Kumar, CEO and Co-Founder, Addverb, a company offering automation and robotic solutions, is of the opinion that the Indian industry is graduating and is graduating fast from go-downs to modern warehouses. “In yesteryears’ go-downs, the goods were kept on the floor in an unorganised fashion and material movement used to happen through people carrying the goods from one point to another point. But due to the rise of ecommerce, GST and tremendous competition, some companies started taking the first step to build quality warehouses, i.e., warehouses that are structurally strong, stable, with good flooring and a height of minimum 7m-10m, and these companies are gradually moving towards modern ways of handling material. Still, this is 20-25% of total warehousing, and is not enough to bring a significant transformation in material handling. In fact, automation is much more meaningful when vertical space is utilised along with reasons such as throughput requirements, which can’t be achieved by increasing labour, space constraints such as single facility operations, equity or customer demand for instant gratification such as a 2-4 hour delivery window, then people need automation,” explains Sangeet Kumar.

How this homegrown robotics company is making man and machines work in perfect harmony

Addverb Technologies is a homegrown robotics company that wants to touch human lives by pioneering human robot collaboration. Instituted in the summer of 2016 by seasoned professionals and technocrats, it has focused on providing end-to-end automation solutions and follows a 4D (Discover-Design-Deploy-Dedicated Support) approach, which ensures that the right automation solution is provided for a customer’s problem, right from discovering the problem to designing the solution and selecting technology mix to project execution and after-sales support. Since it make its own hardware and software, that gives it an advantage as the product can be customised to meet any specific business process of the customer.

“Earlier, the automation players were only Italian, German and UK companies whose products were standardised with little scope for customisation,” recalls Sangeet Kumar, CEO and co-founder at Addverb Technologies. “They were extremely expensive too, so only the big players could afford automation; this limited the knowledge of automation to small and medium sized companies. Moreover, the large players that had some automation used to face a lot of challenges with the installed solutions.”

Challenges Faced By Entrepreneurs While Starting Their Own Startup And Their Success Mantra

We are born out of a desire to ensure that India does not miss out on the Industry 4.0 wave, started its journey with the team of 15 engineers who came together to foster innovation in the field of IOT, Robotics and IT. The biggest challenge was to educate the Indian manufacturing diaspora to embrace automation. Now the sector has taken a move and gradually experiencing the inevitable need to automate their processes.

Over a period of time, we have established ourselves as a preferred automation partner across India and now we are on our way to become a global Robotics player launching ourselves through partnerships across geographies and acquiring multinational client.

Are cobots the next wave of warehouse automation?

Robots are being used in the space of Industrial automation since a decade back and have undergone several updates during this period. Collaborative Robots or Cobots, are currently facing its boom period leveraging its easy configuration and app-based controls. Neeraj Sharma of Addverb Technologies is writing why cobots will play a big role in the development of the fourth industrial revolution and the industrial Internet of Things.

Invented in 1996, cobots have just started making an impact on various industries across the globe. These robots unlock the way to Industrial automation for almost every size of business. It is renowned as one of the cost-effective automation solutions which will work alongside humans, enhancing their capacities and simultaneously building their skills.

What is inside?
Cobots have built-in safety mechanism including power and force limiting technologies which make them safe to collaborate with human operators. Cobots are fashioned with inherent safety features like force feedback and collision detection. Hence, they are more precise, powerful and collaborative and take lesser time to deploy as compared to their conventional and bulky counterparts. For companies with seasonal demands, dynamic product lines or multiple processes can opt for cobots which can also be moved between different tasks.

They are equipped with sensors, smart technologies and systems which are linked with Industrial IoT solutions and specific systems. For the purpose of distance sensing, cobots are in-built with vision or radar sensors. This helps them to implement speed and separation monitoring. Non-ergonomic workstations can be greatly improved with the help of robots. Cobots are enabled with verbal command functions and incorporate voice interpretation.