As recently as just a few years ago, the inventory of a pharmacy was maintained manually by the pharmacist himself. The pharmacist placed the medicine in drawers and shelves by hand and kept manual records of their locations. In recent years, automation technology has also found its way into this area and automated storage systems have replaced such inefficient and error-prone manual processes. Modern pharmacy storage systems are optimized and highly connected robotic systems with a complex software structure. Where a new package should be stored and which package should be served to a customer is decided independently by the robot. However, these decisions must account for numerous constraints such as spatial limitations on the robot's end effector, expiration dates and picking orders.
This project analyzed the order histories of a number of customers, and different loading and unloading strategies for automated pharmacy storage systems were implemented and evaluated for a manufacturer of such systems. The most promising strategy was found to be based on modelling the robot’s motion and adapting to the individual needs of the pharmacists by considering their order histories.
Project partner: Pharmathek S.r.l.