US 9,809,384 B2
Inventory system with efficient operator handling of inventory items
Michael Cordell Mountz, Lexington, MA (US); John Joseph Enright, Somerville, MA (US); Joseph W. Durham, Somerville, MA (US); Michael Harrison Decker, Concord, MA (US); Jonathan Harris Schechter, Cambridge, MA (US); Peter R. Wurman, Acton, MA (US); and Eryk Brian Nice, Medford, MA (US)
Assigned to Amazon Technologies, Inc., Seattle, WA (US)
Filed by Amazon Technologies, Inc., Seattle, WA (US)
Filed on Nov. 24, 2014, as Appl. No. 14/552,334.
Prior Publication US 2016/0145045 A1, May 26, 2016
Int. Cl. G06F 7/00 (2006.01); B65G 1/137 (2006.01); G06Q 10/08 (2012.01)
CPC B65G 1/1378 (2013.01) [G06Q 10/087 (2013.01)] 19 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. An inventory management system, comprising:
a plurality of mobile drive units configured to traverse a plurality of floors, the plurality of floors disposed vertically relative to each other, each floor comprising a plurality of inventory items and a pick station, and each floor configured to operate substantially independently of other floors;
a check-in station configured to receive receipt receptacles of inventory items for each of the plurality of floors;
a ship station configured to receive order receptacles of inventory items from each of the plurality of floors; and
a management module configured to:
assign an order for a set of inventory items to one of the plurality of floors based at least in part on a relative match between the plurality of inventory items of each floor and the set of inventory items of the order;
identify an item from the set of inventory items that is not available on the assigned floor but is available on another floor; and
instruct a mobile drive unit to move the item to the assigned floor from the other floor to be picked at the pick station on the assigned floor.
 
6. A non-transitory computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions stored thereon,
wherein the instructions, when executed, cause a computer system having at least one computer processor to perform a method comprising:
instructing movement of a plurality of receipt receptacles from a shipping vehicle to a plurality of case shuttles without separating or sorting inventory items contained in the receipt receptacles;
for each receipt receptacle of the plurality of receipt receptacles, obtaining information regarding inventory items contained in the receipt receptacle;
assigning a particular receipt receptacle to a floor of an inventory system based at least in part on information about the floor of the inventory system and the obtained information regarding inventory items contained in the particular receipt receptacle, the inventory system comprising a plurality of floors disposed vertically relative to each other, and each floor configured to operate substantially independently of other floors; and
instructing movement, using a mobile drive unit, of the case shuttle bearing the particular receipt receptacle to a storage location on the floor to which the particular receipt receptacle is assigned.