They like to call it the “Amazon Disneyland of the West.”
It doesn’t sound much different than your typical factory – clanging of machines drowning out your voice. But much of the drone comes from the busy blue machines carrying packages through a maze of yellow beams. The ultimate goal: get them to your doorstep as quickly as possible.
In Tracy, at Amazon’s newest robotics center, employees work side by side with robots. The new technology isn’t making jobs disappear, they just become “more skilled,” said site leader Ryan Gunnell during a tour of the facility on Friday.
“Even though you have robotics, there’s still people that have to make sure those robotics work,” Gunnell said.
A robotic yellow arm with half a dozen suction cups picks up your order and places it on top of the robot. QR codes guide the machines, which sit low to the ground hauling packages with a conveyor belt system. Then the packages are dropped into a chute, where they make their way to loading.
This process eliminates associates having to move packages that weigh less than 50 pounds.
Sometimes the robots drop packages, and specially trained Amazon associates have to stop the robotic frenzy to navigate the floor and get operations moving again. Safety, Gunnell said, is a top priority.
Amazon employs roughly 170,000 people in California, according to a news release. Jobs cross sectors, in fulfillment, technology, retail and entertainment. The sorting system in Tracy sits roughly 75 miles south of Sacramento, just northwest of Modesto.
“We’re very excited to show it off,” Gunnell said. “We tell everyone that ‘we’re the Amazon Disneyland of the West.’ We have so (much) brand new machinery that we’re using. ”
There are more than 50 open positions at the center in Tracy, Gunnell told The Bee.
Last year the company launched buildings across the state, including in Sacramento and Fresno.
It opened a new center in Metro Park last summer, more than doubling its presence in the Sacramento area.
Amazon also plans to open a high-tech grocery store in Roseville, where shoppers can use smart carts to skip the checkout line.
The Bee’s Brianna Taylor contributed to this story.
This story was originally published February 5, 2022 5:00 AM.