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Automation within warehouse logistics

Autonomous mobile robot used in automated warehouse logistics

With the repertoire of automation solutions expanding more frequently than ever, it is no wonder that everybody wants a piece of the action. New technology and advanced robotics are leading to more and more companies investing in automation and benefitting from it.


We want to give you a small introduction to some of the automation solutions that can gain copious advantages in one particular industry: warehouse logistics. There are two main processes that tend to coexist with intralogistics, these being transportation of goods around the warehouse, and palletising. Read on for more information on just some of the innovative collaborative technology that is available today.


Mobile Robots


There are multiple types of mobile robots that can be installed into warehouse facilities to enhance their logistics. AGVs and AMRs are two of the most popular options, but despite looking similar, there are a fair few differences that distinguish the two.


AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle)


AGVs, or Automated Guided Vehicles, are portable robots that follow markers or wires in the floor, or use vision or lasers. These robots are programmed to follow only these guideways, and so can sometimes be limited. Nonetheless, these mobile robots have proved a huge advancement in technology, as they were the first mobile robots to enter the automation industry back in the 1950’s. Many AVGs are viewed as collaborative as they will stop if an object is presented in front of them, for example a human, however their operations cannot continue until said object is moved out of its way.


AGV in warehouse
Image sourced from Quora.com

AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot)


AMRs, or Autonomous Mobile Robots, are the more flexible option of the two, using sensors and processors built in to the robot itself to map its environment, and move materials around the facility without physical guidelines in the floor. The sensors and cameras enable the robots to be used for collaborative operation, keeping them running safely in an environment with people as they automatically stop and route around obstacles by using scanners, a 3D camera and ultrasound.


AMRs are beginning to look like the future for automated intralogistics, with their many proven benefits over AGVs, including:

  • Cost effectiveness

  • Operational flexibility

  • Intelligent navigation


Mobile industrial robot in automated warehouse logistics

The introduction of AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) into intralogistics has proved a huge success among companies in need of flexible and future-proof automated warehouse logistics.


Palletising


Not only can the transportation of materials around a facility be automated, but also the palletising of goods. Many facilities are now introducing robotic palletising solutions into their processes to enhance their palletising activity and efficiency. Much like mobile robots, robotic palletising solutions also have many benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Improved employee safety

  • Saved floor space

  • Maximised speed and efficiency

Robotiq palletizer universal robot cobot in warehouse
Image sourced from Vention.io

Robotic palletising essentially eradicates any issues associated with fatigue, distraction, injuries, and the repercussions of repetitive and laborious actions.


To conclude…


Automation within warehouse logistics is ever-expanding as the industry becomes increasingly aware of its benefits, and newer solutions continue to be added to the mix. One of the main points to take away from this is that the automation of repetitive and arduous tasks can free up humans for more value-adding tasks, and perhaps even expand their potential within a company. Whether its a small start or a big investment, automation is definitely moving up in more industries than we realise.