The manufacturing and packaging industries have seen rapid growth in recent years. In fact, we have seen the progress that truly describes what leaps and bounds mean. Thanks to technological advancements, businesses are getting better productivity with more efficiency.
Much of this progress is beholden to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). We are now in an era where Ernie and Bert are improving the output as warehouse robots.
In case you aren’t familiar with warehouse robots, now is the right time to learn about them. This concise guide will provide every piece of information you need to know.
What Are Warehouse Robots?
Warehouse robots assist workers in completing essential tasks. They are categorized into different types according to their usage and functionality.
You should know what each type can do before you buy warehouse robots. With a little knowledge, you can make better purchasing decisions and boost your warehouse productivity. Large enterprises and SMBs are all incorporating robots into logistics to improve their efficiency.
Do you know that in 2020, the estimated value of the global warehouse robotics market was $4.40 billion? What’s more astonishing is that by 2030 this value is expected to reach $15.79 billion.
Main Usage of Warehouse Robots
Robotics has many uses and their efficiency has improved greatly over the years. Their processing capabilities have made them more reliable and consistent thanks to advanced sensors. As a result, we are seeing a revolution in the warehouse industry
Let’s explore how warehouse automation is making operation easy and what type of tasks robots can handle.
Businesses are heavily relying on warehouse robots when it comes to picking. Fulfilling the order by locating and extracting the stock is a tough task. Robots are helping in picking in a number of ways.
Most companies are using robotics alongside warehouse workers to improve their productivity. The main role that robots play here is assistance and route guidance. With their advanced sensors, robots can map an easy and efficient route to move the stock.
Sorting stock is a tedious and time-taking task that is often tiresome. However, warehouse robots are more suitable for this task than humans as they never get tired.
Equipped with sensors and cameras, robots can do the sorting in less time and with more accuracy. This also reduces the margin of error for warehouses where workers have to sort multiple items.
Warehouse robots can sort products into desired categories more quickly. Their sensor allows them to scan, identify, and move the items at speed.
This is perhaps the most laborious task in any warehouse. Transporting stock from one place to another inside the warehouse takes energy and time. This can halt the whole process inside a warehouse if not done right.
But when you have warehouse robots, the process of moving stock becomes less hectic.
Robots can pick the stock, lift heavy loads, and transport stock without requiring any assistance. All these machines need is a pre-programmed route for their destinations.
Types of Warehouse Robots
Warehouse robots have multiple uses and are being used as resourceful machines in the industry. However, not all are good for every task as they all have different purposes. This has to do with the type of technology and sensors of a warehouse robot.
Below are the five most commonly used types of warehouse robots.
- Articulated robot arms
- Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)
- Automated storage and retrieval systems (AR/RS)
- Automated guided vehicles (AGVs)
Articulated Robot Arms
These are robots that mimic the movements of a limb. They are ideal for picking as they possess a twisting joint mounted to a base. Thanks to the multi-joint, these robots are ideal for picking, moving, and putting down products.
Articulated robot arms are normally used in areas that are considered dangerous for warehouse workers.
They can pick and move heavy items, load the stock, and maneuver the stock. Articulated robot arms improve the speed while making the warehouse safe for the staff.
Autonomous Mobile Robots
These are one of the most sophisticated warehouse robots that one can buy. These are equipped with touch-based, thermal, audial, and visual sensors. For improved productivity, many consist of computers and board maps.
Their advanced technology makes them capable of handling a diverse range of tasks. These warehouse robots can plan their route and re-route their map since they are well aware of their surroundings.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are suitable for moving stock and products within the warehouse. They can follow workers or pick and deliver items to packers.
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
These are large warehouse robots that are often considered complete computer-controlled systems. As the name gives it away, they help in moving stock and putting them.
Automated storage and retrieval systems (AR/RS) usually run on advanced software. These robots consist of a crane or shuttle and have wheels.
These are warehouse robots that offer a goods-to-person service with efficiency. The inventory is brought for processing and workers don’t have to move while packing. The best part is that these robots can work in small spaces and move stock vertically.
Automated Guided Vehicles
These are warehouse robots that move and transport stock from one station to another. These are the most widely used machines in the industry right now. Some automated guided vehicles (AGVs) tow trailers while others can carry the load.
An AGV robot normally consists of a laser guidance system, infrared, and cameras. These warehouse robots can move and navigate inside the warehouse along a predefined path.
The best part about automated guided vehicles is that they can react to hazards. For this purpose, floor sensors, magnetic tracks, and wire markings are often used. They can also communicate with other robots to ensure better productivity.
Warehouse robots certainly have their benefits when it comes to productivity improvement. These machines can enhance accuracy and increase warehouse efficiency while saving time and labor. Aside from productivity, warehouse robots also make a workplace safer for workers.