Siemens helps Mecalux add AI to picker robot

  • October 31, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Spanish logistics technology company Mecalux has unveiled a collaborative robotic picking system based on artificial intelligence (AI) from Siemens.

It incorporates Siemens’ Simatic Robot Pick AI vision software that uses deep learning algorithms to streamline picking in warehouses. With AI integrated into the Simatic S7-1500 programmable logic controller, the collaborative robot (cobot) performs order picking with total autonomy and accuracy.

This cobot is the result of an alliance between Mecalux and Siemens, which merges their knowledge and experience in industrial automation technologies. The two companies have a long-standing collaboration in implementing technology that responds to the problems faced by the logistics industry.

Mecalux has launched two collaborative picking systems: a cobot programmed to share the workspace safely with operators; and an automated system that works autonomously in high-performance pick stations.

The cobot, developed at Mecalux’s technology centre in Barcelona, has been designed to operate round the clock and execute up to 1000 picks per hour. Cobots can handle a wide range of items, making this technology suitable for businesses from all sectors looking to optimise order processing.

“The technology partnership with Siemens has allowed us to join forces to create a highly flexible, safe and user-friendly robot that adapts to the specific needs of our clients,” said Javier Carrillo, CEO of Mecalux.

A camera positioned above the cobot’s picking box captures a 3D image of the goods to prepare the orders.

“The AI algorithm has been pre-trained with millions of items to offer out-of-the-box performance,” said José Ramón Castro, CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software ( in Spain. “It’s able to make decisions in milliseconds on robust, collision-free picking positions for products presented completely arbitrarily. One of the key aspects of this is it doesn’t need to know the 3D model of the item in question beforehand. The advanced artificial intelligence algorithm acts as the brain, enabling the smart picking process.”

Once the item has been selected, the cobot deposits it in the picking box with high precision, making the most of the available space. Mecalux ( has devised an algorithm to ensure the cobot places the goods in the correct location.

Guided by Mecalux’s Easy WMS warehouse management software, the cobot can change its gripping system automatically depending on the type of merchandise to be handled. Upon receiving a new box, Siemens’ vision system and AI algorithm identify the items inside and determine the most appropriate way to pick each product.

This algorithm is executed using a hardware platform that Siemens offers on the market: the S7-1500 PLC range, which, with the TM-MFP technology module-multifunctional platform, is capable of executing AI technology. This is achieved while respecting cyber-security standards and employing the Scalance X family of intelligent switches.