AI, 5G and drones boosts warehouse efficiency by 30%

Published on 05/01/2024 in Customer talks

Deltrian, Proximus NXT, and their partners are turning stock management into child's play. Unprecedented efficiency and safety. What are the keys to success? Drones, 5G, and Computer Vision, an area of AI that focuses on image processing.

AI, 5G and drones boosts warehouse efficiency by 30%

What if warehouse stock management became as simple as a game of Tetris? Is that one of your dreams? That is exactly what Deltrian, an air filter manufacturer based in Fleurus, has done together with Proximus NXT and their many partners*. Moreover, they accomplished this for a 15,000 m² warehouse with 40,000 items in stock! What is the company's secret? A drone, private 5G connectivity, and, last but not least, perfectly calibrated Artificial Intelligence (AI). This resulted in greater precision, speed, and safety with a system that can be adapted to different sectors.

The drone, an invaluable tool for stock managers

The drone flies around the warehouse, capturing real-time images of the inventory. “The AI algorithm will do the work of an operator who would have to walk past each box to scan a QR code,” Alexis Wuyts, Advanced Analytics Strategist at Proximus ADA, explains. The images are then transmitted to servers via 5G where an AI algorithm processes them, recognizing labels, counting items, and associating them with specific areas. This method also identifies anomalies.

Warehouse optimization was 67%. Thanks to AI, we can achieve a 30% increase.

Yanneck Adolphe, Head of Research and Development at Deltrian

Where does AI come in?

The technology designed for Deltrian was developed by Proximus ADA and uses Computer Vision algorithms. “This AI technique uses a model that lets the algorithms classify the collected images and then identify the displayed elements," Alexis continues. "This solution was designed to be reliable and robust, taking any background noise in the warehouses into account." Shadows, lighting types, and the position of the boxes were all considered as well.

Multiple benefits

The three algorithms are based on volume, barcode verification, and checking for damaged parcels. "Using volumetrics per slot in the warehouse makes it possible to determine the occupancy percentage," Yanneck Adolphe, head of the Research and Development department at Deltrian, explains. Automatic barcode identification is another game changer. "For example, you know whether an item was correctly positioned in the stock." All of this while also improving safety. "The AI analyzes the location of the parcel using the collected images and sends a warning if it is damaged or if there is a risk of it falling."

There were inventory deviations of up to 12%. AI reduced them to 0.5%.

Yanneck Adolphe, Head of Research and Development at Deltrian

Increase warehouse efficiency 30%

Even though the POC will not start until January 1, it has already made an impression at Deltrian, a company with 100 employees. Firstly, in terms of cost. "Having a team of five employees take inventory twice a year means stopping work for ten days. That equates to €100,000 in lost productivity." The AI drones can do this every night. This also means we can increase the occupancy rate of the stores. "It currently stands at 67%. With AI we can boost that by 30%." Inventory deviations of up to 12% have been reduced to 0.5%.

A multifunctional technology

"We have tried to develop a basic POC that will make sense to most people working in logistics across a wide range of sectors, including medical, transport, and defense. "This is a task that Alexis is used to doing at ADA. The center of excellence brings together experts in AI and cybersecurity who offer their services to both Proximus and B2B customers. This is a strategic pillar that already has more than 100 use cases to its credit in all areas of AI.

* Supported by the Agence du Numérique (Digital Agency) of the Walloon government, the project is the brainchild of a consortium including ID2Move, an expert in autonomous systems, Proximus NXT, a 5G private network provider, ADA, a company specializing in AI, and GSA, a warehouse automation company.

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