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Pre-requisites to be considered before carton shuttle’

Do we need to consider some prerequisites while implementing an automated system like a carton shuttle?

In Goods to person systems like carton shuttle shelving, orders are store, picked, and retrieved in a hodgepodge before delivering to the customer. This system has contributed to increasing the overall throughput of picking, allowing the businesses to meet their customer demands through improved order accuracy. However, to successfully deploy these systems, a few critical calculations such as process throughput, space capacity, product profile, operating plan, etc along with the technical requirement such as mentioned below need to be done carefully.

An Analysis before implementation

A thorough analysis and inspection of the warehouse, understanding the current throughput and operation is required to be done before even proposing the carton shuttle solution. It also requires a detailed report on the existing process with the average time of order fulfillment and concluding how the implementation of carton shuttles can improve the productivity and hence remove process bottlenecks like delayed order or improper inventory control.

How to compare & calculate carton shuttles productivity?

The throughput calculation considers the current SKU pace, average units fulfilled per order, and provides the expected process accuracy to be achieved by deploying these automatic systems. Interestingly, these systems are capable of picking orders of say 300 picks per hour whereas the traditional manual order picking may bid for utmost 100 picks per hour per operator. Also, these systems provide the flexibility to increase the throughput by adding more of such systems into the fulfillment center which then conflicts with the operating space available. So, space capacity is another such scrutiny that needs to be addressed before implementing the system. To get higher throughputs, increasing the height of the aisles to the maximum permissible height,i.e, 100 feet can harm the overall accuracy of the order fulfillment.

Number of SKUs –

Especially industries like E-commerce, retail, spare parts division, fulfillment centers where there are large no. of SKUs are there & product profile contributes plays a major role in determining which products need to be handled by these systems. Because these systems have technological limits on the dimensions of products and their weight, hence they need to be considered while designing automated goods to person systems.

Aisle depth:

To increase the scalability in the future, aisle length of this system can be expanded to a staggering 100 meters, depending on the volume and required throughputs, however, a deep study has to be done on the load flexibility of the single- or multi-deep storage of containers, trays, and cartons of various sizes.

A few more points to consider before installation are:

We shouldn’t ignore the mundane yet important technical requirements such as

  • Installing tracks,
  • Limit switches,
  • Network interfaces and,
  • Integration with industry’s resource management software (WCS or even WMS) with utmost focus on safety examinations.
  • Laying tracks with aligned electrical Busbar and a steady power necessity of 230 VAC, 50Hz and single-phase constitutes the primary installation desideratum after setting up the aisles, and, besides, it also necessitates the positioning of barcode labels. These barcode tapes are used by carton shuttles for distance measurements, and if the placement of these barcodes is not coordinated, they may result in poor distance measurements and in turn, affects the positioning correction by the system.
  • Along with track installation, the system also needs safety forethoughts such as placement of limit switches and external caging with automated door locking mechanism, usually, a magnetic coil-based door locks for aisles containing shuttles.
  • Software Solution – while considering the integration of WMS solutions with carton shuttles demand installation of network APs across the critical network drop locations with access to the shuttle’s server. Finally, the installation prerequisites narrow down to one last step of configuring the shuttle’s network devices and tuning the drive parameters.

An advance and scalable carton shuttle system enable accelerated picking, order sequencing and order fulfillment, driving the storage efficiency through the ceiling. With Addverb, being the first largest manufactures of carton shuttle in India, we bring a diverse and wide industry exposure in implementing a carton shuttle system. To know more reach us at automate@addverb.in

ABC Analysis & Its Role in Inventory Optimization

To understand the different inventory control measures and their value addition to the businesses, its first essential to understand the scope of the word ‘Inventory’. Theoretically, inventory would be the finished goods that the company holds for sale to its customers in the future. Inventory Control, on the other hand, is the systematic control and regulation of the purchase, storage, and usage of materials to maintain an even flow of production and to avoid excessive investment in materials.  The literal meaning would be easy to grasp as compared to the small nuisances it sums up to be a part of. Hence inventory control has been given that much of prime importance as its manufacturing.

What is ABC Analysis of Inventory?

How often have we come across articles/blogs/literature which elaborate the plight of an operations manager struggling to have a good model in place as far as inventory control procedure is concerned? How often have we seen businesses treading on a downward slope because the inventory control processes were not good enough to land them ahead of the curve as far as operating profits are concerned. It is no surprise that the decision-making authority as far as inventory control is concerned is of critical importance for a business to gain a competitive advantage.

ABC analysis (aka Pareto’s law) is one of the most important and widely used inventory control technique. The process involves breaking down the stock items into three major classes according to their cost usage, so the company can focus on items with preeminent cost value since they account for a compelling percentage of the inventory costs.

ABC Analysis works by dividing items into 3 categories

Class A– items are goods with annual consumption value the highest i.e the top 80% of the annual consumption value of the company but account for only 20% of the total inventory items.

Class B-items are the interclass items with a medium consumption value; that 15 % of annual consumption value typically accounting for 30% of the total inventory items.

Class C-items are, on the contrary, items with the lowest consumption value; the lower 5% of the annual consumption value typically accounting for 50% of the total inventory items.

Classifying the inventory items aims to assist the inventory managers to focus more on class A items, as they keep the top-notch priority and calls for tight control. While class B has comparatively low priority, spans items with availability either low or out of stock, and veritably, they account for 20% of the total inventory cost. Class C items have the least priority, and it uses the simplest inventory control methods.

So, managing inventories by ABC requires segregating inventory items based on their relative importance, for instance, resource availability, fiscal value, lead time, manufacturing requirements, etc. Practitioners claim that ABC analysis can handle cyclic inventory effectively, for ‘A’ class inventory items, counted weekly for accurate monitoring of items, consecutively, has a greater impact on the inventory cost. Conversely, ‘B’ class items, having less impact on the inventory, perhaps counted monthly and ‘C’ class items counted once in three or six months as their consumption score is low with less impact on the inventory value.

How does the ABC technique help in warehouse management?

In a typical multi-warehouse, the nitty-gritty of controlling inventory increase the inventory cost if not controlled properly. ABC analysis cyclic counting has been an effective inventory counting technique across multi-warehouse where inventory managers assign the inventory into one of the three ABC analysis class.

Inventory Management –

ABC analysis can be a smart strategy in the ASRS (Automated storage and retrieval system) for increasing the overall efficiency in the warehouse. For disorganized storage, the categorization strategy in ABC ensures the fastest access to the items in the highest demand, for instance, storing the items with high priority in the front section of the ASRS.

Resource Management-

The analysis approach can be a part of a computerized resource management software like WMS (Warehouse Management System), subjected to access real-time data of the inventory items. Additionally, the analysis establishes a smart order routing, a quick initiation into a smooth transfer of goods across the multi-warehouse.

Picking Technologies –

 To select the right picking technology, this technique helps to identify and select among different picking technologies like Voice Picking technique ( Pick by Voice, Light – Directed Picking Technique ( Pick to Light ), Artificial Intelligence and vison based  Technique ( Pick by Vision ). To improve the travel time within the manually operated warehouse, where operators are picking by forklift or by hand, or in the automated warehouse that running automatically on conveyors, with cranes and robots handling different processes.

Supply Chain Management-

ABC analysis helps the various stakeholders of the supply chain in the following ways –

By this categorization, one can identify hot spots and separate them from the rest of the items, especially those that are numerous but not that profitable. Identification of inventory items that pose the biggest business risks due to theft or damage and pose the largest opportunities from sales is also possible from this analysis.

  • It helps warehouse managers and other supply chain professionals to prioritize their time.
  • It empowers warehouse managers to achieve close to 100% inventory accuracy.

Also, ABC Analysis can help in making Smarter Purchasing and Inventory Control Decisions as well. Warehouse owners and supply chain managers have limited time and resources, so they must allocate their energy in the most efficient way possible. ABC analysis helps them identify the areas of their business that require the most attention in purchasing and inventory control.

Dark Warehousing: Spotlight of the day!!

Dark – the new light of the warehouse

Have you ever wondered what goes behind the screens once you place an order on your computer monitor in front of you? Before the order reaches you within a 24- or 48-hour window, what would have been its journey?

Well, if you would notice in the last 14-15 years of its onset, ecommerce industry has been a synonym for ‘explosive growth’ and there has been an exponential rise in terms of the no. of SKUs they handle, delivery times from being anywhere from 10 days to 24 hour delivery. Ecommerce has not only transformed how the businesses work but has forever changed the customer’s behaviour. The ‘want it now’ attitude of the customers is forcing businesses to upgrade their systems and processes to meet these expectations and are assorting to automation by introducing autonomous mobile robots, AGVs, driverless forklifts, palletizing robots, ASRS systems, automatic picking units through MPVs, cobots, mobile robots, sorter robots, tilt-tray sorters, robotic packaging & depackaging units, powerful softwares such as WMS, WES, MES, cloud solutions, a web of IoT solutions that provide visibility into everything inside the four walls of the warehouse, and to perfectly sync all the systems in real-time all the time.

If you could conceptualize one such warehouse, yes, you are right there & welcome to the wonderful world of ‘dark warehousing’!!!

So, what is it?

To define the nomenclature, a dark warehouse is a fully automated warehouse that operates without the use of human labor. Literally put off all the lights and let the warehouse function on its own. There is another definition also to it, which says warehouse that fully automated material handling systems – here the main reference is to the ASRS Systems, high speed sortation systems, mobile robots, and warehouse execution systems.

The ecommerce boom and the need for speed are the primary drivers for the dark warehousing concept as the completely automated systems increase the speed of operations by a manifold, ensure delivery of 100% accurate orders and improve overall safety aspects of the warehouse. One of the other key factors is the need for space, because the rising real estate rentals were directly taking a bite from the profit margin share & automation is the best way to improve space utilization and create additional space within the existing space, examples like dense racking through pallet shuttles or carton shuttles, crane based ASRS systems etc.

How do they work?

In case of dark warehouses, all the functions of warehousing i.e., inbound, storage, picking and outbound are completely automated & all these systems work in perfect sync with one another plus the other ancillary systems such as front end Order Management System, Vendor Management System, Truck Management System, Personnel management system..etc. Like all the inbound orders will be well planned and received through automatic telescopic conveyors which will supply the carton loads from different suppliers/vendors to the robotic palletization units where palletization of the similar SKUs is done. These pallets can be sent for storage through a fleet of driverless forklifts, where they deliver it to the automatic storage and retrieval systems. Once an order comes on these pallets, they will be fetched out of the system, sent for depalletizing robotic units and finally the cartons will be taken by the mobile robots either to the outbound order sequencing area with a carton shuttle ASRS or to the robotic decanting stations, where the items from the cartons will be poured onto the crates, which will again be stored in a carton shuttle ASRS system. Retrieval of these cartons will be done when the items need to be picked, which can be done through stationary robotic bin picking units. The packaging of these cartons/crates can be done through tunnel-based systems on the smart conveyors. After packing the orders will be sorted based on location codes or carrier type or any such criteria through a fleet of sorting robots & the sorted parcels will be loaded on to the trucks for dispatch again by the use of mobile robots. In the entire process if you observe there is a little or no human intervention.

And..

These dark warehouses can function on a 24*7 basis, ensure zero human error, there will not be any shift charges and provide complete visibility of the entire operations and enable data driven decision making. However, these completely automated systems are quite expensive, and require a thoroughly defined automation strategy in place.  As a concept it has emerged in the European countries when some large organizations installed highly automated systems with some regular equipment like conveyors. With the kind of capital investments, it requires, it is still possible for large organizations, hence its adoption rate is not that high. Also, dark warehouses are also not as flexible in operation for picking, packing, and shipping- For handling a variety of SKUs, the systems need to be tuned accordingly, which is not that easy. So, dark warehouses have been more popular for industries where there are a smaller number of SKUs or uniformity of SKUs in terms of its size and shape.

Concluding thoughts:

Despite dark warehousing appears as the panacea to achieve the best KPIs of the industry, it has been quite elusive since a decade. Because in the ever-changing volatile business world, investment in 100% automation seems quite bold and companies have been apprehensive about it; maturity of the technology, staff skills, organized or unorganized nature of the business ..etc might have been a couple of other factors. Whether warehouses become completely dark or not might be a question for the future, but the increased use of automation in warehouses is a booster & is the right way to realize the efficiencies.

 

Micro Fulfilment Center: The Future of Retail

How do you think the consumers will shop in 2030? Today, there is a greater demand for transparency and increased personalization from grocery shopping. This helps consumers to make informed choices to support their dietary needs, values, occasional requirements and health goals. This rapid shift in consumer demand, combined with emerging technologies, will lead to a ‘supermarket of the future’ (Micro Fulfilment) with an immensely improved omni-channel experience and efficient operating model.

Automation is one of the crucial element of the Supermarket of future. It reduces costs and frees up staff so that they can focus on enhancing the shopping experience for the customers. Currently, the brick and mortar business provides customers with an experience of high-quality fresh produce, delicious food with an attractive gastro ambience and not to forget, satiating social interaction. Smart merchandising solutions will make the retail shopping space more attractive to the customers while exponentially eliminating wastage.

Innovation in the future supermarket will come with new opportunities for merchandising and impact on the 4Ps (price, product, place, and promotion). One way to achieve this is by offering an end-to-end eGrocery solutions, using hyper-local automation to lower the cost-to-serve in online fulfilment. Keeping consumers’ demand in focus for omnichannel grocery, a transition from defensive posture on eGrocery towards a profitable solution has become essential to minimise the losses of the currently inefficient eGrocery segment.

The primary challenges of eGrocery segment that the Micro fulfilment centre commits to solve are picking time and last-mile delivery. Conventionally, it takes about 60 minutes for picking an eGrocery order which makes the segment an unprofitable burden for many grocers. The micro-fulfilment centres cut picking time down to about six minutes. These micro-fulfilment centres can be installed in the existing setup of supermarkets, enabling a hyper-local option that eventually reduces the cost of last-mile delivery.

At Addverb, we are keen to contribute in this journey with you as a retailer by providing robotics and automation solutions in these mini-sized fulfilment centres to churn out order baskets for the e-grocery customer using minimal space and manpower. This contributes towards a transparent, visible and seamless fulfilment experience for the retailer as well as the customer. From in-store pick, dark stores, semi-automated fulfilment, micro fulfilment centres to full scale automated warehouses, the rush is on to figure out a way to lower grocery fulfilment cost. As usual, there is no single solution from which the problem can be approached in a correct way. Retailers will have to create flexibility in their solutions that will eventually meet customers’ demand and that too at profit. Some factors such as urban vs suburban, delivery vs pick-up, scheduled vs immediate can help to create this flexibility in the hands of retailers.

These are some of the nuances with which you would want your technology partners to look at the problem statement of micro fulfilment.

When it comes to any automation, ROI is a conversation worth probing. From a grocery perspective, the cost to build a supermarket today involves the cost of the land, building, infrastructure and workforce which contributes to around 60% of the cost of goods sold on year on year basis. On the other hand, it is estimated that the cost of building a micro fulfilment centre would cost less than half of that for the same amount of sales for the retailer. This makes the concept a lot more viable, thereby reducing the cost to serve considerably. Moreover, if planned with the right set of data with your MFC specialist, as a retailer, it is estimated that the inventory turn around will be 3 times more than a typical retail store making the required impact on ROI.

Today consumers are interested in the convenience that online grocery business creates and the market is responding positively towards that by migrating to fast service. Micro fulfilment Center provides retail operators to satiate that consumer requirement and that too efficiently, at a low and profitable cost.

While the pricing of online grocery is always the decision of retailer, the micro fulfilment centre is so cost-efficient that it allows retailers to sell products via an online medium to its customers without any additional fees.

Hence, some advantages of Micro fulfilment centre can be summarized as follows:

  • Reduced last-mile delivery costs: The cost of transporting and hence reduced delivery time due to migration of warehouse closer to the customer, decreasing the overhead costs.
  • Easy Deployment: The deployment time to implement micro fulfilment centres is a lot lesser due to pre-engineered approach for automation, making go-to-market strategy a lot faster.
  • Re-use of existing store footprints: It reduces the need to build new warehouses for your growing online sales channel and instead use the existing supply chain assets.

It is evident that the future of retail is here, and it is for us to embrace it!

 

The rise of automation in 3PL industry

How you sell matters, what is your process matters but how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more. Selling is the most exciting part of a business. But what happens when a customer places an order? It has to reach the right person, at the right place and at the right time. And here come the 3rd party logistics providers in the picture to ease the above task. With the changing supply chain dynamics, the 3PL suppliers have geared up to become the catalyst in the chain to ensure accurate and timely order fulfilment.

To become the real catalyst in the process the industry has set to make moves towards advancing their operations through technical innovations such as automation and advanced software solutions. With the emerging ecommerce sector, 3 PL industry has to undergo several operational shifts in order to meet the ever-surging demand. It is changing the shape of e-commerce product distribution by providing a range of flexible storage and distribution services to its customers.

 

An amalgamation of 3PL and automation

1) Pick-Pack-Ship:

A 3PL company is more than simply a partner in the value chain for a company. It organizes the whole process of order fulfilment and owns it end to it till the last-mile delivery. Vast item selections, omnichannel order fulfilment, same-day shipping options, and advanced order tracking have all become necessities to compete for business. And this is where automation becomes an inevitable choice for 3PL providers. Solutions such as automated picking technologies and automated storage & retrieval system act as a catalyst in the operation.

2) Brains in Motion:

3PL partners use intelligent software to process the entire order fulfilment in cohesion and coordination. Automation fulfils this requirement of 3PLs and boosts the efficiency at every stage, be it picking, kitting or assembly operation.

3) Store-in-the-Hump:

3PL companies facilitate inventory management and handling peak season demands. AI-powered solutions in 3rd party logistics inventory management allow for systematic storage and retrieval of warehouse material, streamlined inventory management, and facilitation of order fulfillment.

4) Space No bar:

With many 3PLs serving different customers, space optimization is essential when housing so many SKU varieties in a single warehouse. Automation in 3PL can augment warehouse height utilization, unlocking higher storage capacity thus delivering more value for the same floor space.

5) Returns are welcomed:

Returns handling accounts for almost 30% of the purchase price in an ecommerce business. The modular features of a robust software solution ensure effortless handling of returns via proper data integration across all systems thus enhancing supply chain & inventory management, with positive ripples spreading to deliver enhanced customer experience and satisfaction.

In recent years, the 3PL industry has expanded at an unprecedented rate with an increase in revenue of 21.6 percent between 2017-2019. This unrelenting growth is attributed to the aspirations of retailers to stay competitive and meet increasing consumer expectations for on-time and accurate deliveries. They are tapping 3PL providers to augment their order fulfilment capabilities. The global 3PL market is projected to reach over $1,100 Billion by 2024 as a wide range of industries turn to these providers to handle various levels of warehousing, order picking, packing, transportation, and shipping operations.

Some of the 3PL players still deter to adopt automation into their system. Unpredictability in ROI is one of the top reasons for keeping this contention. Also, there are uncertainties around the investment option in a rigid automation solution for a customer today that might not even be in the warehouse tomorrow. The new-age automation is breaking all these fallacies and emerging out as the unanimous choice for all the 3rd party logistics providers. Automated warehouses and distribution solutions have become flexible and scalable enough to deal with the dynamics of business in today’s era and ensure smooth material handling to achieve unmatched efficiency in the warehouse.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality, to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” and technology in building these new models every day for every industry!

Are cobots the next wave of warehouse automation?

Robots are being used in the space of automation since a decade back and have undergone several updates during this period.

Collaborative robots or Cobots, are currently facing its boom period leveraging its easy configuration and app-based controls. Invented in 1996, cobots have just started making impact on various industries across the globe. These robots unlock the way to automation for almost every size of business. It is renowned as one of the cost-effective automation solutions which will work alongside humans, enhancing their capacities and simultaneously building their skills.

What is inside?

Cobots have built in safety mechanism including power and force limiting technologies which make them safe to collaborate with human operators. Cobots are fashioned with inherent safety features like force feedback and collision detection. Hence, they are more precise, powerful and collaborative and take lesser time to deploy as compared to their conventional and bulky counterparts. For companies with seasonal demands, dynamic product lines or multiple process can opt for cobots which can also be moved between different tasks.

They are equipped with sensors, smart technologies and systems which are linked with IOT and specific systems. For the purpose of distance sensing, cobots are in-built with vision or radar sensors. This helps them to implement speed and separation monitoring. Non-ergonomic workstations can be greatly improved with the help of robots. Cobots are enabled with verbal command functions and incorporate voice interpretation.

 

Market speaks

As per BIS Research, by 2021, the collaborative-robot market is expected to grow to approximately $2 billion and 150,000 units. Several other industries are also looking towards cobots as a way of introducing the new automation future.

 

How do they add value?

Many businesses which are at their nascent stage of automation can see cobots as their tool to take their next step towards automation. One of the major benefits of cobots is its built with easy programming that allows even an inexperienced user to learn the process by simply moving the robotic arm to the desired waypoint and using a touchscreen to set the required actions. It involves a user-friendly software and mobile applications for the cobot to learn new actions on the go by leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence. By using a cobot, the programming can be performed on one unit and can be copied to others, making it quickly redeployable to different processes. This also include a much lesser cost than the traditional robots and generate a better ROI. As already mentioned, it provides safe collaboration to work alongside humans, providing the worker with an extra set of hands. Unlike cobots, the guarding and safety mechanism of traditional robots is bulky and expensive. Cobots are lightweight and easily movable to different places as well as different tasks. They are more consistent and accurate than humans and hence the errors are minimized in the operations.

Cobots play a big role in the development of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. These days cobots area being used for various tasks such as pick and place, finishing tasks, Process Tasks (which requires a tool to interact with a workpiece), packaging and palletizing, quality inspection etc. Right now, we’re at a tipping point whereby there aren’t too many hurdles anymore to leverage this technology. We may count it as the day 0, when cobots will transform the trends in the automation sphere and will realize the implementations of Industry 4.0.

Technology trends in industrial automation for 2018

When Moore observed the fact that the number of transistors in an IC doubles approximately after every two years, it was believed to be the basic principle for the survival of any technology. Later, Moore’s observation was loosely stated as any technology doubles its productive capacity in 18 months. This laid the foundation for all technological developments. Further today we observe that even this 18 months period has been shortened and technological leaps happen within a year. Manufacturing typically is the most impacted field due to any technological advancement. Here we look at the five technological trends that will disrupt the manufacturing sector in the next 12 months in India:

1.Adoption Of Voice: For quite long, scanning as technology has dominated the warehousing industry. Barcodes have been seen as the most effective solution for picking & put away. With AI-based Voice engines becoming more mature, reliable and their availability in regional languages, there shall be increasing use of Voice in warehouses for picking and put-away process. Due ease of use, increased productivity and robustness, voice-based solutions are poised to replace scanning in warehouses in India.

2.Bluetooth Based Asset Tracking: With the logistics startups disrupting the transportation sector and incoming of GST reducing the Truck Turn-Around Time during transportation, companies would be focusing on optimizing their internal workflow and keeping operational costs low. As such cost-effective asset tracking solutions shall be the talk of the town. Being Robust with longer battery lives, encryption-based security and very high accuracy, “Bluetooth Low Energy” beacons based RTLS solutions and asset tracking will replace the existing RFID based asset tracking systems.

3.Smart Factories: For quite some-time now we have been hearing and talking about smart factories. Smart factories are all about connected machines. Competitive pressures and onslaught of technology such as cloud, augmented reality, etc. will prompt manufacturers to look to Industrial IoT solutions to connect the different processes to drive operational gains and to drive agility and scalability. Areas like remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance, fire hydrant management shall be the first areas for disruption and prove to be successful use cases for IoT solutions.

4.Entry Of Mobile Robots: With the automated driving market heating up with a multitude of startups competing to take the lead, resulting in the maturity of technology, this year will see the adoption of automated guided vehicles in the manufacturing and warehousing sector in India. The industry will migrate to more advanced navigation technologies such as LIDAR, RADAR & Cameras from the existing basic magnetic tape solutions.

5. Data Speaks Up: Big Data has been in vogue for quite some time and manufacturing has already been having a big chunk of data to operate on. This year we will see a business using AI-enabled software platforms to make complex decisions on predicting the breakdowns in machines and avoid downtimes. Products that can help in predicting breakdown patterns and improve productivity shall be the mainstay in manufacturing this year.

Industrial Applications of Mobile Robots

The onset of the Industrial Revolution augmented the Mobile Robots Application across different industrial functions, however, the latest developments and the pace of business operations made it almost a mandate for many companies to adopt these bots into their everyday operations. Mobile robots, descendants of driverless vehicles that were taken birth in the grocery warehouse of Mac Barret found their place not only within the four walls of the industrial warehouse but across different applications like military, security, healthcare, domestic, surveillance, and entertainment industries.

Despite their ubiquitous presence across the spectrum, we will discuss the most popular Mobile Robots Application & the associated structures here.

Intra-Logistics – Warehouse Logistics

Shelf Units – Semi-automated installation (manual intervention) – To transport semi-finished or finished goods between productions, between production and warehouse and/or in warehouse logistics. This is especially useful for automobile or electronics industries where the manufacturing of main products involves the assembly of thousands of spare parts.

Conveyor band/belts– This is one of the popular applications of mobile robotics with a conveyor top module attached to it. It is used majorly to transport material between fixed conveyor band/belts- it could be between a robotic depalletization unit to shelving unit, or from a palletizing unit to dispatch unit or between production lines or from the production line to delivery. These are usually fully automated solutions.

Robotic Arm – A mobile robot mounted with a bin-picking robot, popularly used for automatic picking solutions. This solution ensures high picking accuracy and is used for picking fast-moving goods with small order sizes and high volumes. This solution coupled with pick to light makes it a popular Paper Industry

Paper roll handling was one of the important jobs to be performed given the sensitivity of the material. It’s quite common that conventional manual handling of the paper rolls leads to damage of the outer layers of the roll, and that is as much as up to 10cm of the diameter of the roll!
This leads to the adoption of automated guided vehicles for material handling & transportation of paper rolls and pallets of sheeted paper as early as the 1970s. With the evolution of Mobile robots & flexibility, they have numerous applications.
In the paper industry, vertical paper roll warehousing and horizontal delivery of paper rolls to printing machines are very typical. To facilitate this, mobile robots are integrated with the down ender system.
Hospitals: Another interesting area of application of mobile robotics is Hospitals, where they are used for carrying surgical/medical supplies, linens, medicines, needle trays, and other generic items. Their ability to interact with one another, collision avoidance capabilities with other mobile robots, humans, obstacles like doors, walls… etc make them very flexible to use in multi-specialty hospitals where nurses and other helping staff do walk for kilometers every day carrying the essential items.

Electronics Industry:  It is characterized by the highest quality and product design. It also consists of several serial components of high quality. During the manufacturing & shipping, it is of paramount importance that these spare parts need to be dealt with extreme cleanliness and orderliness. The weights to be transported are usually of standard boxes of size 600mm*400mm. Majorly, in these production sites, flexibility is key– both the layout and the processes often change over the course of ongoing optimization. Mobile robots with their reliability and flexibility of operation, exactly fit into the demands of this industry and have been playing a vital role in material transportation for quite some time & the trend is only uprising.

Food & Beverage Industry Globally, this industry is booming at a skyrocketing growth rate with numerous players, multiple SKUs and extending every nook & corner. This continuous growth of the sector leads to a great utilization of available space plus the very nature of the products demand quick supply chain operations. Especially the beverage industry is subjected to enormous price pressure worldwide. Hence there is an acute need for operational cost savings and even the very marginal price differences can define the fate of the business. This is how automation and mobile robots came into the picture. Popularly piggyback model of mobile robots can be used to perform pallet transportation. These mobile robots are equipped with conveyors to manage pallet pick up and drop off laterally onto stationary conveyor equipment. These robots do offer a high amount of operational flexibility.

Way forward
Currently, mobile robots are in heavy or unusual payload applications, however, flexibility is at the core of their functionality, they are fast penetrating into new industries with each passing day. Mobile Robots Application will soon become the harbingers for the realization of ‘Lean Manufacturing’ that connects islands of automation across different business functions. Dynamo, an indigenously developed mobile robot from Addverb can handle multiple payloads from 50Kg to 1500Kg. Based on Natural navigation and advanced control systems this is one of the best in industry.

Read on to know more about it here: https://www.addverb.in/AGV-For-Warehouses-Factories-Mobile-Robotics-Solution.html