Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Automated Parcel Handling Systems

Request Number
Due Date
May 30
Program Manager


Licensing, product acquisition, contract research, proof of concept leading to scale-up to manufacturing, joint development, supplier agreement


Phase 1 – Proof of concept in 1-6 months
Phase 2 – First installation in 6-12 months


Phase 1 – Proof of concept funding commensurate with proposed activity


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RFP was closed on
Jun 2019

RFP Title


Automated Parcel Handling Systems
RFP Description

NineSigma, on behalf of a global logistics company, invites proposals to develop an automated, high-throughput parcel handling system to revolutionize manual parcel loading.


NineSigma’s client operates several parcel handling facilities. These facilities move, sort, and load parcels of varying sizes, shapes, surface textures, and weights from automated material handling systems to transport carts for further processing. NineSigma’s client believes that technologies exist or can be developed to improve the productivity of these facilities within existing footprints.

Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan
Phase 1 – Proof of concept

  • To be completed within 1-6 months
  • Can be demonstrated at submitter’s or client’s facility

Phase 2 – Installation

  • To be completed with 6-12 months
  • Initial implementation to take place in one facility with the potential to expand to others if deemed successful

Criteria for Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2
Client will consider for advancement an approach that meets performance criteria with acceptable economics and pathway to commercialization. While commercially-ready technologies are preferred, the client will also consider early stage technologies, provided a viable pathway to development and implementation exists.

Respondents with promising partial solutions are encouraged to respond. Client will consider integrating multiple technologies to create a unified system.

Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will meet the following criteria:

Physical Parameters

  • Compact
    • Fit within existing footprints (40’ wide by 80’ long by 13’ high)
  • Scalable and flexible:
    • Adaptable to height restrictions in some facilities/installations
    • Compatible with different conveying systems
      • Straight belt
      • Flat plate
  • Feature graphical interfaces for system status and reporting

Operational Parameters

  • Capable of handling parcels of varying size & weight:
    • Maximum weight: 120 pounds
    • Maximum size: 54 x 32 x 32 inches
  • Accurately place parcels into carts
    • approximately 114 x 60 x 60 inches
    • approximately 24 inches off the ground
  • Achieve a load rate of 15-20 parcels per minute
  • Scan parcel tags/labels to ensure accurate loading to cart
    • Ideally utilize up to 90% of cart capacity
    • Reject mis-sorted parcels for redirection
  • Available 99.9% of 20-hour operational day
Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Bespoke robotic systems
  • Systems and technologies adapted from other industries and applications
  • Next-generation computer vision systems
Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Systems that cannot meet desired size specifications
  • Highly proprietary systems
Items to be Submitted

Your response should address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
  • Availability of technical data including:
    • Parcel handling specifications:
      • Maximum weight
      • Maximum size
      • Load rate
      • Accuracy
    • Footprint of proposed technology
    • Adaptability of proposed technology
    • User interface
  • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, reduced to practice, prototype, ready to commercialize, ready to implement, commercialized)
  • Pathway to commercial scale including timing, estimated budget, and capacity for manufacture
  • Estimated unit cost of technology
  • Position on intellectual property including patent references
  • Desired relationship with sponsor
  • Team description and related experience
Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest