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Amazon Inc.

The Task

Minimise maintenance effort, increase process speed.

With its online marketplace, the global group Amazon is one of the largest retailers in the world. In order to be able to respond to the enormous amount of orders in its logistics centres, a smart solution for fast and reliable picking became an absolute necessary.

At Amazon, the mechanical HMI components of the Pick-by-Light were highly susceptible to errors during daily operation and had to be replaced on average every six months. For the Group, this meant additional high maintenance costs, operating losses and the risk of extended delivery times for customers twice a year.

You can learn more about CAPTRON'S solutions in the video

Amazon Fulfillment Center in Troutdale, USA

The Solution

CAPTRON was able to replace the mechanical HMI components in the Amazon logistics centres with capacitive hardware, thus achieving both of the dealer's objectives.

As a pioneer in the field of capacitive sensor technology, CAPTRON was a favourite of Amazon in the choice of new HMI applications.

On one hand, the error rate of the HMI components fell to less than one percent with the sensor expert's customised smartCAP buttons. In the first two years of use of the oneGRID system at Amazon, there were no downtimes during ongoing operations. Amazon was able to reduce its maintenance costs to an absolute minimum and significantly shorten delivery times.

On the other hand, the extended functionality of the smartCAP buttons as pick units helps to increase the process speeds. The buttons, which allow quantities to be displayed and processes to be acknowledged, guide employees quickly and intuitively, making them much more productive. For Amazon, maximised order picking performance translates into shorter lead times, improved delivery capability and lower shipping costs for customers – which also contributes to their satisfaction.

Dr Roland Aubauer, Senior Director of Research and Development at CAPTRON, summarises the success: "All in all, Amazon was able to use the oneGRID system to significantly increase the efficiency of the pick stations in its logistics centres – by 13.5 percent in Mönchengladbach, for example – and this at an unbeatable price-performance ratio. The changeover is likely to have paid off for Amazon at all levels. In addition, Amazon employees work far more ergonomically and intuitively without additional training."

Today, CAPTRON's capacitive technologies are used worldwide in Amazon logistics centres. The dealer is already designing new department stores with the Pick-by-Light and having older buildings retrofitted on a piecemeal basis. For more than three years, the response rate of the solution has been 0 percent.