Walmart adds symbolic robots to warehouses nationwide


The driving force behind the massive influx of warehouse robotics funding is primarily driven by one company called Amazon. Of course, there are other factors driving the industry, including epidemics, labor shortages, and supply chain constraints, but Amazon is forever looming around the corner, forcing businesses to adopt creative and innovative ways to stay competitive. Even forces of nature like Walmart are not immune.

Amazon has been at the forefront of this division since it acquired Kiva Systems in 2012, but Walmart has been actively working on automation in recent years. , has been quiet since the company abandoned its shelf scanning system.

The Massachusetts-based Symbotic was much luckier. Late last year, the company announced plans to go public via SPAC, building on the momentum of an ongoing deal with Walmart that brought warehouse robots to distribution/fulfillment centers at 25 large retailers. Today, the pair announced the expansion of their contract to install Symbotic systems at all of Walmart’s distribution centers in the United States (a total of 42).

Walmart clearly has faith in the system, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Symbotic says it will take more than eight years to complete the retrofit rollout. It is safe to expect that both the retail and robotics environments will look very different in less than a decade.

“The need for accuracy and speed in the supply chain is more visible than ever, and we are confident that it is time to move faster by extending Symbotic’s technology to our entire regional distribution center network,” Walmart SVP said in a release. . “Using high-speed robots and intelligent software to organize and optimize inventory, the Symbotic System helps us deliver products to our customers quickly and seamlessly by transforming the way we receive and distribute products to our stores.”

Symbotic’s system is multifaceted with respect to companies like Berkshire Gray. This includes a combination of a Kiva-like mobile robot for moving inventory, and a robotic arm that can select, deploy and depalletize using a variety of attachments.

According to Symbotic, the SPAC, which was initially planned for some time on H1, is still ongoing. Given the market conditions, it is advisable to delay the listing a bit. Meanwhile, Walmart has partnerships with various robotics companies, including GrayOrange, which provides equipment to the company’s Canadian subsidiary.

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