Advanced manufacturing company Tharsus has launched a new business with £8 million investment.

VersaTile Automation – a new robotics business based in Blyth, Northumberland – has launched its automation technology platform to enhance productivity in UK warehouses. 

With plans to expand on an international scale, the concept for the business has been entirely conceived in Blyth. The team expects the business to become a significant employer in the area, bringing much needed high-value career opportunities to the local community in AI, software, technology development, engineering and manufacturing sectors. 

The business will bring high-skilled jobs to a town and its surrounding area that it says has often been forgotten in favour of the economic development of London and the South East.

VersaTile is led by the team behind Tharsus Group, which has decades of experience in delivering progressive automation solutions for many businesses worldwide, including Rolls Royce, Ocado and BMW. 

Using artificial intelligence, VersaTile’s technology is a modular automation system for high-intensity fulfilment centres, revolutionising warehouse environments by moving products using a dynamic tiling system. The ‘intelligent floor’ knows precisely where goods are and is capable of moving materials instantly, doubling the productivity and requiring only half of the space of traditional warehouse systems.

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VersaTile is also self-learning based on built in AI capabilities and can respond to unpredictable changes in real time. Crucially, the technology is being integrated into the warehouses without changes needed to existing infrastructure, augmenting productivity with both warehouse space and labour savings.

VersaTile also announces Wincanton as its first customer, with the logistics business agreeing an initial three-year agreement with the firm. The technology has been deployed in Wincanton’s state-of-the-art, high-volume eFulfilment centre in Northampton. 

The VersaTile solution is significantly increasing the order picking efficiency of the Wincanton team – navigating a complex, high-volume environment to ultimately enable faster deliveries – and integrates with its existing systems.

VersaTile’s technology is on track to drastically improve productivity. Its unique 3D configuration delivers three times increase in pick and presentation rates, facilitating order picking within minutes. 

Joni Rautavuori, CEO of VersaTile, commented: “Supply Chains are under tremendous pressure to meet ever changing customer demands for shorter delivery times, higher flexibility and lower cost in a sustainable manner. Lack of the productivity development and availability of labour is adding to this challenge, particularly in UK. 

“Current warehouse operations are creaking under the pressure and warehouse employees are under greater strain than ever. VersaTile’s solution uses advanced technology to solve this. Having Wincanton, a leading supply chain company in the UK, as our first customer shows the credibility of VersaTile technology and the trust in our experienced team behind it.”

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