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What is the most popular use for robots in the fashion industry?

Written by

Neil Martin

Neil Martin

One of the most popular uses for robots in the fashion sector is logistics and warehousing, and a great example of this is the famous clothes brand GAP. 

The disruption caused by Covid-19 has encouraged US clothing store GAP to up its use of robots.

GAP uses robots for logistics and warehousing industry duties, particularly assembling online orders.

Industry experts say this is just one example of how the pandemic is causing the logistics industry to think about how quickly it rolls-out robots. 

GAP recently said that it's using its warehouse to assemble orders, limiting human contact during the pandemic.

It now uses over 100 item-picking robots, up three times from when before the pandemic struck. When Covid-19 took hold, it not only had to close all its US stores (the company also owns the Banana Republic and Old Navy brands), but also had to cope with higher warehouse orders, yet less staff to fulfill them. 

The robot station sits at the end of a chute down which rolls goods from various online checkout carts. The robot’s arms are equipped with suction tools that collect each item, scans the barcode and places it in an appropriate bin. The items are then collected by a human worker for packing and delivery. 

There’s ten of the eight-foot tall robotic stations in Gap’s warehouse near Nashville, Tennessee and 20 near Columbus, Ohio. Each machine does the work of four people. 

GAP is not alone in sharting the predicament, with Amazon and Walmart all using more robots to cope with problems caused by the pandemic. 

The news illustrates how the pandemic may speed up automation in the retail industry. Companies including Gap and Amazon have long used such systems for a range of tasks, like moving items across warehouse floors. Various new technologies are capable of supplanting some cashier, box packing and item picking roles that employ millions of U.S. workers, and the pandemic is giving vendors a chance to make their case.



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