Robots do a lot of the heavy lifting at the new Amazon.com fulfillment center, helping 500 human employees fill orders for the Seattle-based Internet retailer.
The center is one of 50 around the country and three in the Puget Sound area. The others are at Bellevue and Sumner. A fourth is under construction in Kent.
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The $100 million DuPont Fulfillment Center has been operating since last June, but Amazon held a grand opening ceremony Friday for political and economic development officials, The News Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1CoQDd7 ).
The center is a showcase for Amazon's robotic technology.
Robotic equipment improves safety because it operates without direct human control, minimizing the chance of injuries, said Greg Zielinski, the DuPont center's general manager.
Computer-driven equipment follows wires embedded in the floor to select merchandise on a two-story warehouse floor equal in area to 59 football fields.
The picked order travels on a conveyer belt to where it is boxed and labeled for shipment through a computerized system that routes the boxes to one of two dozen package-delivery trucks.
An algorithm decides which delivery company will handle the shipment to ensure the order arrives on time at the least cost.
Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com