Texas Instruments unveils automated S'pore warehouse

Summary:Upgraded facility in Singapore will be able to expand capacity by four-fold and boost productivity by 40 percent, with the implementation of Swisslog's Autostore system which features 36 robots running on an overhead grid.

SINGAPORE--Semiconductor giant Texas Instruments has unveiled a new automated warehousing system, called AutoStore, which it says will raise capacity four-fold and productivity by 40 percent.

The system involves 36 robots which run on a massive grid, measuring 65m by 18m by 5.4m, to store and extract goods--doing away with the usual shelves and aisles.

"Within a space that previously stored 500 million semiconductor units, we will ramp up to 2 billion units this year," TI President for Asia Larry Tan said at the opening last week. The Texas Instruments warehouse in Singapore manages inbound inventory from 20 countries and ships them to over 50 countries.

Apart from saving space, the amount of labor needed is reduced--both of which cost a premium in Singapore.

Oscar de Bok, DHL Supply Chain's South and Southeast Asia CEO, said: "It brings the goods to the man, not the man to the goods. That means the productivity of the staff that we use is very high. It increases productivity by about 40 percent."

chart
Traditional versus non-automated warehousing. (Credit: Swisslog)

The upgrade of its Product Distribution Center costs about US$10 million, said de Bok, who added the investment is expected to break even within five years.

The automated storage and order picking system was launched in collaboration with DHL Supply Chain which owns the facility, and Swisslog which developed the technology supporting the center. This is the first implementation of AutoStore in Asia, and the 17th globally.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Singapore

About

Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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