With supply chain disruptions not entirely mitigated and with a shortage of labour, the demand for reliable warehouse automation is higher than ever. Different challenges require different types of automation, both fixed and flexible, but many automation companies only offer one style of robotic automation solution which may not be enough.
Automating logistics with robotics not only means lowering costs – it also means keeping up with today’s high demand. Finding the right hardware automation for different types of orders is a challenge, especially if both types of orders are handled from one logistics center. There are a couple of different options that companies can choose to suit their automating logistics needs better.
Fixed automation has been a tried and tested option for decades and is used mostly for deliveries from FMCG to retail or from retail to store. With fixed automation one should consider solutions with stacker cranes or shuttle systems (think fixed racking, rails, etc) and it requires roller conveyors around it to bring pallets or boxes to and from a warehouse.
Flexible automation allows manufacturers or logistics companies to quickly alter production capacities or warehouse capacities as needed. Where adaptability and scalability are required, this kind of automation tends to be the number one choice. Many e-commerce companies need automation due to their demand but do not yet know what their future demand will look like. Flexible automation allows these companies to start with a certain set of robots like Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), and sorting robots, and then scale up or down or combine with other robots when required.