Kiva’s approach to order fulfillment uses hundreds of mobile robotic drive units that bring inventory on movable shelves directly to workers, allowing easy and efficient access to all inventory items at all times and very fast, accurate order fulfillment. Elimination of operator walking and waiting enables worker productivity that is two- to four-times higher than with other automated systems. What’s more, because all the system components are mobile and modular, a Kiva-equipped distribution center has unprecedented flexibility when adding new products or expanding throughput—without disrupting ongoing operations.
“A robust WLAN is that basic element of connectivity that spans the Kiva solution, communicating and coordinating the movement of the drive units,” says Matt Verminski, Kiva’s VP of Hardware Engineering. “Dropped wireless signals can impact system performance, and we found that Extricom was the highest performing enterprise class WLAN that delivered sufficient RF coverage in the 5 GHz band to ensure continuous mobility for our robotic drive units in the harsh warehouse environment. Additionally, Extricom is easy to install and has been highly reliable once deployed. It was the obvious choice.”
What makes Extricom an ideal fit for Kiva is the unique Channel Blanket architecture in which all WLAN Access Points (APs) are configured on the same channel. As the Kiva drive units move around the warehouse, they can communicate with multiple APs at all times. The Extricom WLAN switch determines which APs should be talking to which drive unit on a packet-by-packet basis, optimizing the RF coverage.
This also gives the network the ability to self-adjust to a constantly changing RF environment as the Kiva drive units carrying shelving “pods” shuttle back-and-forth to picking stations. The roving drive units associate directly to the Extricom wireless LAN switch instead of an individual access point, and there is no handoff as they move between APs, making mobility truly seamless.
The Kiva Systems solution, enabled by Extricom, is quietly proving its worth at some of America’s largest retailers, including Zappos.com and Diapers.com. “The real value of Extricom WLAN lies not just in its technical capabilities, but in enabling our customers and technology partners to build better applications and do more with their businesses without having to worry about basic connectivity issues,” states Honore LaBourdette, Extricom VP of Sales for North America. “The Kiva Systems MFS clearly illustrates how Extricom's high-performance, predictable wireless infrastructure makes the difference in a technologically complex system that delivers operational efficiencies and the best possible user experience for Kiva's customers. We are excited to be a part of this innovative mobile solution from Kiva.”
About Kiva Systems
Kiva Systems, Inc. uses game-changing automation technology for distribution centers that helps companies simplify operations and reduce costs, while increasing strategic flexibility. Using autonomous mobile robots and sophisticated control software, the Kiva Mobile Fulfillment System enables extremely fast cycle times with reduced labor requirements, from receiving to picking to shipping—all without conveyor. The result is a building that is quick and low-cost to set up, inexpensive to operate and easy to change. For more information on Kiva Systems and its solutions, please visit www.kivasystems.com
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Extricom means enterprise wireless infrastructure that works. Extricom’s award-winning Channel Blanket Architecture delivers better RF coverage across the board while minimizing networking and wireless complexity. Voice, data and video applications are supported by a robust Wireless LAN infrastructure that ensures predictable service and seamless mobility in any environment. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.extricom.com