Did you know that Amazon was ranked the 4th biggest and most lucrative company in the entire world in 2021? Behind only Apple, The Saudi Arabia energy sector, and Microsoft, Amazon is worth a staggering $1.6 trillion. And with over 300 million active users across the globe, it’s not hard to see how they hit these astronomical numbers.
But this can easily make you curious; what technology and machinery does Amazon utilize that allow its operations to handle such vast amounts of materials, deliveries, data, etc? In this post, we will answer that exact question.
The Technology Amazon Uses for Inbound Products
Every Amazon truck that arrives at an Amazon fulfillment center has been notified by an app of all the details for the pickup order. The location, the time, the bay that it needs to pick up its delivery from, etc. The efficiency installed in this kind of coordination is what gives deliveries their speedy arrival time and keeps the fulfillment centres from becoming too overcrowded.
Once an Amazon delivery truck arrives at the bay, the first order of operations is to remove the product and load it onto the pallets. And the machinery utilized for this job? A robotic arm and malleable conveyor network. Generally, the majority of trucks will be packed with separated products piled top to bottom. Employees will empty the truck and then wrap the products up on different pallets. From there, a lift-like machine or mechanical arm will hoist the pallets to an unpacking terminus.
Upon arrival to the staging section, every box is placed on a rack where it is then opened and plucked from. Every box carries several single packages of whatever the innards happen to be. A scan is then performed by a worker at each section. They scan the box itself, followed by scanning a single item within the box, before earmarking it for a position on the pod. The technology used for the most current installations is the Amazon Go technology. This technology has the ability to identify products, scan their barcodes (from a distance), and determine the pod spot where the product belongs.
The Technology Amazon Uses for Stockpiling Product
From the instant the delivery arrives at the fulfillment centre, all packages are sent to robots cruising on the floor, lifts/elevators, or conveyor belts. First, the product is packed in the pods, the pods are then transferred from on top of a robot. From there the robots deliver the packages to a predetermined destination on the open floor. The robots only have the ability to move from a single QR code to the next one on the floor. This means that whenever two robots come across one another, one of them will abruptly halt because it can’t recognize the QR code, as the other one proceeds.
This is a procedure that is almost completely dependent on the systems used for computer routing. They have to be clear on what the most methodical and systematic way for the product is leading to the customer. Every single order is monitored to a centre predicated on its destination as well as the destination of the customer, and then it is handed over to the picker. The worker will then pluck it from the pod and send it off to the proper loading section.
In between the order from the picking section to loading and packing, every product is placed in a yellow container. This container is then propped on a conveyor belt where it is then transported to a single or a multi-load section of the warehouse. Some Amazon fulfillment centres house as much as 11 miles of conveyor belts running through them.
The Technology Amazon Uses for Loading Product
This part of the Amazon fulfillment system is done manually. However, there are components of computing involved that help with the accuracy of product placement. After the products have been differentiated between single and multi-load orders, they are then sent off to the proper packaging sections of the warehouse.
The containers are placed alongside lengthy conveyor belts with stations for packing on either side. A worker will seize a container, pull a product, and then scan it. A premeditated box size is programmed into the scanner, which indicates the proper container that the product must be placed in. A label with a barcode is then placed on the outside of the box, this label houses the data information of the box — aka the contents inside. This makes it easy for any worker, at any time, to be able to determine the materials in each box and where its destination is.
Scanners and Labels for Packaging
The package has been through quite a journey at this point. It’s been picked, packaged up in a box, and then placed on the conveyor belt. Now, the package will be delivered to a scale, scanned again (this time on the outside barcode label), and shipped away.
Conveyor Belts (Heading Out)
At this point, the package is now cruising down the conveyor belt making its way to the exit. There is now a shipping label placed on each product. There is a multitude of slots established for packages to be loaded to. Every slot is connected to a particular delivery destination. As the product arrives on the conveyor belt with the label relative to its destination, the conveyor belt nudges it into the correct slot. Afterward, the product is loaded into a truck by hand and delivered to its final destination.