Vecna Robotics, a material handling automation solutions firm, has announced with Big Joe, a pedestrian material handling equipment firm, its latest autonomous offering for labor-intensive material-handling workflows called the Vecna CPJ.

This co-bot pallet jack is designed to bring human-assisted robotics to warehouses and manufacturing facilities with labor-intensive workflows that have typically been ignored by robotics automation, including shorter distances, lower throughput and tighter spaces. Internal simulations and field tests reveal up to 45% improvement in throughput versus human work only.

There are over 5 billion pallets in circulation and nearly 5 million manual pallet jacks at work moving them every day. With 70% of the total cost of moving those pallets being labor — and severe labor shortages crippling supply chains — Big Joe and Vecna Robotics identified a need for an autonomous material handling solution to handle “in-between” loads. The new offering combines Vecna Robotics’ expertise in autonomous mobile robots and orchestration with Big Joe’s material handling hardware. Together, the two companies provide an easy-to-use, on-demand labor automation service that frees up human workers to focus on higher-value tasks.

“The last 18 months had driven huge demand for AMRs [autonomous mobile robots] like autonomous forklifts, but current offerings are typically only accessible to very large facilities,” said Craig Malloy, CEO at Vecna Robotics. “Our CPJ is a game-changer as it allows facilities of varied sizes to address their immediate labor shortages with intelligent material handling robots. The new solution works seamlessly alongside human workers and automates a broader range of payloads, workflows, and environments that the market is not currently addressing.”

To maximize the accessibility of the product and help with immediate labor shortages, Vecna CPJ will be available through a Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) pricing model that is designed to support easy onboarding of robotics solutions and deliver rapid savings without the need for large CapEx budgets.

Available for purchase by the end of 2022, Vecna CPJ will offer the following:

  • Flexible configurations for moving a variety of pallets, carts, racks, bins and other payloads up to 3,300 lbs/1,500 kg
  • Full AMR functionality, including intelligent route planning, obstacle circumvention and transport at an accessible entry point
  • Seamless switching between autonomous and manual control, easy onboarding, user-friendly UI/UX for intuitive programming and collaborative workflows
  • Enterprise-class automation to historically underserved workflows, including pallet and tote consolidation, pick-to-packout, QA/QC/rework, and dunnage retrieval
  • Productivity boosts with collaborative human-robot workflows at large, multi-shift enterprise sites with tight spaces
  • Intelligent human-robot orchestration, autonomy, interoperability, remote monitoring, and analytics powered by Vecna’s Pivotal software


To learn more about the Vecna CPJ, visit their website.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@globalspec.com