Robotic Solutions

Mobility Helps Robots Thrive in Chaotic Warehouses

Blog
August, 2019

Mobility is one of the key factors enabling robots to thrive in logistics environments as never before. While many technologies are changing the game in warehouse automation, mobility is on the front edge, making it possible for robots to deliver more capabilities, increase productivity, and relieve labor burdens — all while reducing costs.
 
Robots capable of moving within a warehouse aren’t new, but most have traditionally required infrastructure such as facility markers, magnets or tracks. But once installed, adapting to new needs or conditions could be costly and time-consuming.

However, today’s mobile robots are different. By leveraging technologies similar to those in self-driving vehicles, they offer levels of flexibility and autonomy that were unthinkable just a few years ago. 

Best of all, many mobile robots are well past the experimental stage. They’re mature, proven technologies that are already in use today, delivering practical and measurable results.

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), for example, can often be deployed in a day (or less) with little or no infrastructure other than a Wi-Fi connection. They can navigate independently, reroute around obstacles, and interact safely with people and fork trucks. They’re also extremely cost-effective, delivering ROI in as little as six months to a year in some applications. 

The same technologies are also driving a new generation of robotic unloaders, which go beyond the capabilities of robotic arms to unload trailers in half the time of manual processes without any fleet modifications. They boost productivity and reduce injuries while allowing you to redeploy labor, increasing worker job satisfaction and retention.

I recently sat down with Joe Lau, head of channels for Fetch Robotics, to discuss some of the amazing competitive advantages mobile robots are bringing to DCs right now. In Mobile Robotics in the Warehouse, the latest installment of our On The Move webinar series, we discussed:

  • Recent advances in technology that have finally made mobile robotics viable in fast-changing, chaotic environments like DCs
  • Real-world case studies demonstrating how DCs are increasing productivity and achieving ROI with mobile robotics in as little as six months to a year
  • Strategies for leveraging AMRs to make more efficient use of scarce labor, improve cycle times and delivery rates, extend the useful life of current facilities, reduce worker overtime, and more
  • How robotic unloading can relieve limited labor from dull, dangerous and dirty tasks, freeing them for higher-value jobs
  • Key considerations your DC must evaluate before deploying mobile robots

As always, we strongly recommend working with an experienced robotic integration expert who can help you determine if mobile robots are right for your operation. That said, mobility offers many DCs a low-risk entry point into the automation technologies that are revolutionizing the industry. If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to check out the recording of our recent webinar, Mobile Robotics in the Warehouse.
 

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