Warehouse Robotics to Transform the Face of Manufacturing Sector
Warehouse robotics are automated robotics systems that help transport materials from warehouses to other places and perform several tasks inside warehouses, such as packaging items during the manufacturing process.
Currently, robotics technology is witnessing massive adoption in the distribution system, supply chain, and management of warehouses to make them technologically advanced.
As per BIS Research, the smart factory and manufacturing market value in 2019 was $64.64 billion, and it is projected to grow and touch $105.12 billion by 2030.
History of Robotics Technology in Supply Chain
The first-ever robot used in the manufacturing process was founded in 1956 by George Devol. This robot had the potential of moving heavyweight materials from one place to another without any support.
In the beginning, when companies adopted robot technology, employees didn’t appreciate it as these robots were taking over their jobs. Due to this, companies started using robot technology for hazardous jobs such as welding.
This plan was successful, and companies began using robotics technology with full potential in dangerous conditions such as lifting heavy weight machines and welding.
How Robots Work Autonomously in Warehouse?
In the last few years, robotics experts have worked in every possible manner to develop advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) connected with automated robotics technologies.
Mainly three things allow robots to work in the warehouse industry autonomously. These are as follows:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
- Advanced sensors with high response capabilities
- Warehouse Management Software (WMS)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Warehouse
Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to high computers ability which helps to execute several manufacturing functions such as problem-solving, reasoning, and learning similarly to human minds.
Generally, AI is categorized into two types for the supply chain management.
- Augmentation: This AI technology helps assist humans in their daily tasks.
- Automation: This AI technology helps manufacturing companies to do the task without the interference of humans.
Advanced Sensors with High Response Capabilities
When robotics technology was introduced in the supply chain process, there were several issues, such as safety concerns in response to the surroundings.
However, the introduction of technologically advanced sensors (audio and video sensors) resolved some of these issues. In addition to audio and video sensors, robots used in the warehouse can also be attached with haptic and thermal sensors for better performance.
Thermal sensors help measure the ambient temperature of a particular surface, and haptic sensors enable robots to know in detail about the products by touching them.
When these sensors are paired with advanced technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence, they help robots make better decisions as per the input given by the surroundings and the collected information from sensors.
Warehouse Managing Software
Warehouse management software (WMS) is the main hub for warehouse operations. In this software, information can be passed seamlessly from one channel to other. It helps gather accurate data from different channels and take the right decision as per the requirements.
Technologies such as AI uses data to help robots make better decisions. Therefore, obtaining and providing accurate data becomes necessary to prevent robots from doing unnecessary tasks.
Types of Robots Working in Warehouse
- Automated guided vehicles (AGVs): These automated vehicles help transport supplies, goods, and materials within the warehouse space. Primarily, AGV robots replace the manual pick carts and get the work done much faster.
- Retrieval system (RS) and automated storage (AS): It is a set of computer systems that support inventory management and storing goods as per demand. These systems are designed to provide speedy placements and retrieval of products.
- Collaborative robots: They are known as mobile robots, which are semi-autonomous technology. These robots are designed to support human workers present in the warehouse by getting diverse tasks done. These robots are attached with sensors that help them distinguish between boxes and obstacles. They also help speed up the picking procedures of the products and deliver them to the correct location inside the warehouse.
- Good-to-person (G2P) technology: It is similar to RS\AS systems. This G2P technology is like an automated system for delivering store items at suitable stations with the help of humans in operating the orders. Also, G2P technology has high capabilities of delivering high investment returns.
Robotics play a vital role in the warehouse manufacturing process as they address several challenges in supply chain management by making better decisions using relevant data. With the adoption of robotics in the warehouse, industries can become more technologically advanced and perform much more effectively.
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