Before autonomous vehicles take over, warehouse robots will pioneer the way
Warehouse robotic systems represent the dawn of what can be called the fourth industrial revolution. The potential of such technology to help businesses keep pace with distribution challenges and consumer demand for convenience and variety. Until recently, robots have been stationary, relatively unintelligent, lacking the complexity and agility that the logistics industry requires. However, next-generation robots are very different – they are lighter, more flexible, easier to program, and more affordable due to swift progress in grip and sensor technologies. Combined with the advent of micro-technology and the ability to create compact and collaborative robots, we are finally starting to see automation becoming a reality in the supply chain.
Today’s technology brings a boom in collaborative robots and autonomous mobile robots (AMR) that work seamlessly with the human workforce to increase efficiency and flexibility. Global estimates predict a whopping 1.3 million increase in industrial robots in 2018. Automated warehouse robotic systems make processes more efficient, accurate and reliable. And as demand for quicker, leaner, better production continues, it’s an important competitive advantage for manufacturers.
Amazon is credited as a pioneer in using warehouse robotics as early as 2011. Today, they run over 30,000 robots in their fulfillment centers. Thanks to efficient warehouse robotic systems, real-time order fulfillment is now a reality. Robots facilitate the transport of orders to facilities, picking robots, the pallet, packaging and pricing departments, loading docks, and to shipping containers – but that’s not all. Warehouse robots offer reduced errors and reverse logistics in accurately processing large data sums, improved quality, precision, and reliability, reduced overhead costs, workforce burden and transportation delays, all while increasing safety.
The benefits of using warehouse robotic systems are numerous, and as demand for quicker, leaner, better production continues, it has become an important competitive advantage for manufacturers. Robots do not drink, sleep, or require a paycheck. For these and many other reasons discussed above, warehouse robotics are quickly becoming prevalent in the logistics industry.