The use of robotics in warehouses has increased significantly in recent years.
From the supply chain and distribution, through to warehouse management and maintenance, robotics is now playing a central role in warehouse automation. With constant advancements in technology, that’s only going to continue.
According to the UK Warehouse Robotics Readiness Report, industries that rely heavily on warehousing, including retails, ecommerce, and 3PL, must embrace large-scale automation and robotics to boost picking rates and accuracy, save valuable space, and keep up with the fast-paced growth of ecommerce.
But what are warehouse robotics and how can they benefit your business?
What are warehouse robotics?
Warehouse robotics are automation systems, robots and software that work together to carry out and automate certain warehouse management tasks, including:
Various types of robotics can be used in warehouses, the most common ones being:
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are the cornerstone of modern warehouse automation, efficiently transporting materials and products throughout the facility without human intervention. These self-guided vehicles navigate predefined paths, using advanced sensors and technology to avoid obstacles and ensure safe and precise transportation. AGVs significantly enhance warehouse productivity by streamlining material handling processes, reducing the risk of errors, and optimising workflow efficiency.
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) are cutting-edge warehouse solutions that automate the storage and retrieval of goods with precision and efficiency. These advanced systems utilize a combination of robotics, software, and controls to manage inventory and streamline order fulfilment processes. AS/RS optimises warehouse space by maximizing vertical storage, allowing businesses to store more products in a smaller footprint.
G2P technology uses an automated system to deliver items to pick stations, where human operators then complete the orders. These innovative systems automate the retrieval and delivery of goods, reducing human labour and expediting order fulfilment. By eliminating time-consuming manual searches for products, goods-to-person robotics streamline inventory management, improving overall operational speed and accuracy.
Collaborative robots, also known as cobots, are the game-changers of modern warehouse operations, working alongside human workers to enhance productivity and efficiency. These versatile robots are designed to perform various tasks, such as picking, packing, and handling materials, with precision and adaptability. Collaborative robots improve workflow by automating repetitive or strenuous tasks, allowing employees to focus on more complex duties, thus boosting overall productivity and employee satisfaction.
Articulated robotic arms
Articulated robotic arms are indispensable tools in modern warehouse operations, offering precise and flexible automation for various tasks. These versatile arms mimic human movements, enabling them to handle complex operations with accuracy and efficiency. Equipped with advanced sensors and intelligent software, articulated robotic arms can pick, pack, and sort items with precision, reducing manual labour and increasing overall productivity.
What are the benefits of warehouse robotics for your business?
The use of robotics can significantly increase productivity and accuracy, particularly when it comes to inventory management. By automating processes such as picking, sorting, and replenishing, warehouse robotics help to eliminate the risk of human errors, which can be costly and time consuming for businesses.
Reduced pressure on human workers
Certain warehouse tasks, such as working at height and transporting inventory, can be physically and mentally strenuous for warehouse workers. Warehouse robotics can take on some of these high-risk tasks, reducing strain and pressure on human workers which, in turn, boosts morale and productivity.
With robotics, warehouses can automate repetitive, manual tasks, freeing up human workers to focus on complex tasks that require human input. This increases efficiency and accuracy.