UK-based packaging and paper industry leader Mondi has partnered with mobile data capture company Anyline on the development of a barcode scanning solution using autonomous drones.

Seeking to improve its inventory management process across multiple large warehouse locations, Mondi tested several technology options including handheld RFID [radio-frequency identification] and camera scanners.

The company engaged Anyline to apply its mobile data capture technology within autonomous DJI Mini 3 Pro drones.

Before barcode scanning drones, multiple workers used forklifts to lift two people at a time to scan inventory across large warehouses, sometimes carrying out the process only once per year. It involved working at heights and, due to the need for space and extra safety measures, had to be done on overtime outside of warehouse operating hours.

Now a single drone operator can scan all the inventory aisle-by-aisle in a warehouse during operating hours. The new modern process is safer, accurate and removes the need for a mandatory after-hours full warehouse count all at once.

Mondi CIO Rainer Steffl commented: “Taking inventory in a warehouse using autonomous drones was an exciting challenge. After several months of testing, problem solving and integrating with our backend systems, we have successfully counted our first full warehouse, proving the technology a success.”

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Mondi recently announced that it is considering a possible all-share combination with its competitor DS Smith.