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Honeywell collaborates with Carnegie Mellon University to boost distribution centre technology

Software-industrial and performance materials global company, Honeywell, partners with Carnegie Mellon University to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic technology advancements.

In entering this strategic collaboration, Honeywell aims to support distribution centres following growing industry demands from the rising e-commerce market.

On 28 August 2018, Honeywell — a leading player in the aerospace, automotive and personal care companies — is pursuing the digital environment to respond to consumer decision-making factors and preferences.

Honeywell Intelligrated, a division of the Fortune 100 company’s Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions arm, has teamed up with Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Centre to support this aim.


Accessing advanced technologies

The partnership comes as the duo recognises how the distribution environment is increasing in both its integration and complexity. Together, the company and university will explore robotics solutions to maximise productivity and performance capabilities.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult to staff supply chain operations fast enough to satisfy the growth in e-commerce. Developing advanced machine learning capabilities and applying it to critical distribution centre applications is a key enabler for our customers," explained Pieter Krynauw, president of Honeywell Intelligrated.

By tapping into the research capability of Carnegie Mellon, Krynauw anticipates that this collaboration will expedite Honeywell’s “ability to bring advanced technology to market at scale and deliver much-needed capacity and productivity gains for distribution centres through digital transformation”.


Combining forward-thinking capabilities

Honeywell Intelligrated will pair its logistics and industrial robotics capabilities with Carnegie Mellon University’s robotic technology.

"In a period of such extreme growth for robotics, it is vital to have the technical platform along with the domain expertise and real-world data to push technology forward to commercial maturity,” enthused Dr Herman Herman, Director of the National Robotics Engineering Centre at Carnegie Mellon University.

"With this initiative, we are combining leading-edge robotic technology from Carnegie Mellon with Honeywell Intelligrated's logistics and industrial robotics expertise," said Dr Herman Herman, director of the National Robotics Engineering Centre at Carnegie Mellon University.

As the e-commerce environment, particularly mobile commerce (m-commerce) grows, industry distribution centres are evolving their processes, systems and levels of technology to respond to both retailers and consumers efficiently and precisely.


Industry approach

Global automation equipment, software and service provider, Honeywell, and Carnegie Mellon University will create a next-generation architecture to develop and manage these robotic applications.

The newly-launched platform adopts machine learning to offer critical decision-making solutions, intelligent motion, collision avoidance and reliable sensing making it practical to provide robotics in industry.

Continuous development and improvements are an integral part of Honeywell’s enterprise-led approach. Automation supports warehouse initiatives, ranging from handling individual e-commerce orders, selecting stock and unpacking shipping containers are core elements of distribution activities.


E-commerce expectations

With research by eMarketer anticipating e-commerce sales in the US are tipped to surpass $526 billion (£404 billion) in 2018 — a lift of 16%, Honeywell seeks to enhance its e-commerce fulfilment capabilities. Mid-term growth predictions anticipate that e-commerce sales are expected to equate to 12% of 2020 retail sales in the US.

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