Agreement Calls for Fleet of Stretch Robots to Further Help Automate U.S. Warehouses
CAMDEN, N.J – NFI, a leading supply chain solutions provider, today announced it has signed a $10 million agreement to deploy Boston Dynamics’ newest robot, Stretch, across its U.S. warehousing operations. The mobile robot will begin unloading trucks and containers as a pilot program at NFI’s Savannah, GA facility in 2023, with plans to outfit additional warehouse locations across North America over the next few years.
Supply chain demand remains near all-time highs. To support the flow of goods and increase operational capacity, NFI continues to invest in technology that supports a people-led, technology-enabled approach. The investment also falls in line with NFI’s Applied Innovation focus, which pilots new technologies to demonstrate a real-world application within operations before scaling across its North American network.
“At a time when companies need to evolve to meet consumer expectations, NFI has stepped in as the innovative logistics partner, contributing to our customers’ competitive edge,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “Our innovation portfolio emphasizes productivity and safety in NFI’s operations. With Stretch, we will enhance the movement of freight through our facilities while providing a safer environment for our employees.”
NFI is one of the oldest and largest privately-held 3PLs in North America, serving customers throughout various industries and operating over 65 million square feet of warehouse space. The company foresees Stretch becoming an invaluable asset in its network of import deconsolidation centers, cross-dock and transload facilities, as well as floor-loaded inbound and outbound distribution centers一all of which have seen an influx of demand since the start of the pandemic.
“We designed Stretch to automate box moving, an operationally and physically challenging task across warehouses,” said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. “Demand for goods continues to rise, and robots like Stretch can help NFI alleviate some of the challenges associated with that surging demand. Stretch makes truck unloading a safer and more efficient task, and NFI can pass that efficiency along to its customers.”
Stretch operates for more than a full shift on a single charge or up to 16 hours with a high-capacity battery option. With a powerful vacuum gripper and advanced vision system, the robot handles a variety of package types up to 50 pounds, requires no SKU number pre-programming or box size information, and can autonomously recover any packages that shift or fall during the unloading process.
The Stretch project is being overseen by NFI’s Integrated Design and Solutions (IDS) team of supply chain engineers, which will help scale the program to the greater NFI footprint after the pilot’s conclusion.
For more information, please visit: bosdyn.co/stretch.
NFI is a fully-integrated North American supply chain solutions provider headquartered in Camden, New Jersey. Privately held by the Brown family since 1932, the company generates more than $3.8 billion in annual revenue and employs over 16,000 associates. NFI owns and operates more than 65 million square feet of warehouse space alongside a dedicated fleet of 5,100 tractors and 13,200 trailers. By 2023, NFI will operate the first 100% zero-emission drayage fleet, leading the transition to zero-emission goods movement in the United States. The company’s business lines include dedicated transportation, warehousing and distribution, eCommerce fulfillment, brokerage, transportation management, port drayage, intermodal, global logistics, and industrial real estate. For more information about NFI, visit www.nfiindustries.com or call 1-877-NFI-3777.
About Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics is the global leader in developing and deploying highly mobile robots capable of tackling the toughest robotics challenges. Its robots are equipped with advanced mobility, dexterity, and intelligence, enabling automation in unstructured or hard-to-traverse spaces, from industrial plants and construction sites to distribution centers and warehouses. Boston Dynamics has three robots in its portfolio: Spot®, a quadruped that conducts industrial inspections for enterprise asset management; StretchTM, a box-moving robot currently deployed with early adopter logistics customers; and Atlas™, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot. For more information, please visit www.bostondynamics.com.