CHEP Partners with Universal Robotics

September 13, 2012

The supply chain logistics provider will use Universal Robotics’ Spatial Vision system to implement automated 3D pallet inspection.

NASHVILLE, TN /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- CHEP, a global leader in pallet and container pooling services, announced that it has selected the Universal Robotics Spatial Vision Inspection (SVI) solution for automated 3D pallet inspection. By identifying pallet defects accurately and reliably, SVI is expected to reduce scrap and raw materials, while improving the consistency of overall pallet quality for CHEP customers.

Ed Mabe, CHEP Senior Director, Global Process Engineering, said: "Universal Robotics' novel approach provides CHEP with an innovative low-cost 3D pallet inspection system that will improve the consistency of product quality by eliminating human variability in the inspection process and expand automation in our supply chain. Solutions like this further CHEP's mission to deliver innovative, performance-enhancing equipment pooling solutions to our customers."

Traditionally, pallet inspection has been done visually with varying levels of manual handling or automated machinery, requiring the pallet to be lifted and flipped to see all surfaces. Stringent and frequent audits are required to reduce the variability of visual inspection. Traditional 2D vision is not as reliable as 3D due to the limitations of the technology and the structure of a pallet. Replicating manual inspection requires a flexible, automated vision system that quickly identifies a wide range of defects, including raised nails, and wood damage—whether split, loose, or missing—at a productive line speed. This solution sees more of the pallet at a faster rate than current approaches, delivering consistent quality levels for CHEP's partners and customers.

David Peters, CEO of Universal Robotics, said: "Universal was selected because of our expertise in 3D sensor data for qualitative assessment. CHEP recognized this and has entrusted Universal to deliver a lower cost, state-of-the-art pallet inspection system. Universal provides the only 3D technology that incorporates a self-learning capability, Neocortex, that drives intelligence in the supply chain never seen before."

Carmelo Alonso-Bernaola, Senior Vice President of Global Operations, said: "CHEP is pleased to partner with Universal Robotics to continue to enhance the service levels we provide to our customers while also improving internal productivity."

CHEP continues to be a leader in environmental sustainability, as well as a market leader in equipment pooling worldwide. CHEP issues, collects, conditions, and reissues over 300 million pallets and containers every year. Universal's innovative low-cost 3D pallet inspection system will enable CHEP to improve overall supply chain efficiency and sustainability.

About Universal Robotics
Universal Robotics Inc., a software engineering company, has expertise in multi-dimensional sensing and processing, motion control, and artificial intelligence. The company has created an unparalleled software platform for intelligent flexible automation, providing a wide range of solutions for materials handling, logistics, and industrial markets. Universal's products group by elements of sensory-motor interaction: intelligence (Neocortex), sensing (Spatial Vision), and motor control (Autonomy). Products integrate into complete applications or function independently, and are hardware agnostic. For example, Spatial Vision without motor control provides real-time 3D inspection. Neocortex yields data or process insight. And Autonomy can be used as an automated robot programmer.

About CHEP
CHEP issues, collects, conditions, and reissues more than 300 million pallets and containers from a global network of service centers, helping manufacturers and growers transport their products to distributors and retailers. Combining superior technology, decades of experience, and an unmatched asset base, CHEP handles pallet and container supply chain logistics for customers in the consumer goods, produce, meat, home improvement, beverage, raw materials, petro-chemical, and automotive industries.

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