Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Amazon is piloting new automated packing machines at its warehouses

A packing machine
A packing machineCMC Srl

Amazon is considering introducing them to “dozens” of its warehouses, leading to the loss of 24 jobs for each location, according to Reuters.  

The machines: The CartonWrap 1000, made by Italian firm CMC Srl, can pack boxes about four or five times faster than a human packer, processing up to 700 orders an hour. They work by scanning goods on a conveyor belt and then enveloping them in boxes. The machines require supervision from three people to load orders, fix jams, and restock glue and cardboard. You can watch one of them in action here.

The logic: An Amazon spokesperson said the aim is to increase safety, speed up delivery times, and, of course, save money. However, Amazon insisted that savings will be “reinvested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.”

Automation anxiety: Amazon recently said it will be at least a decade before it’s running fully automated warehouses. Anxiety about technology’s job-stealing potential is inevitable. However, automation isn’t a big, one-off event. It’s often a slow creep, as this latest story indicates. Amazon has been gradually introducing robots into its fulfillment centers for many years and now has over 100,000 in operation worldwide. It employs 125,000 people  in the US.

Sign up here to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech in our daily newsletter The Download.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.