When it comes to warehouse operations, time and money are always at the forefront of any manager’s mind. In today’s speedy supply-and-demand world, these types of operational changes are a sensible way to corner a portion of the market.
One way businesses are cutting costs while boosting production is with the use of robots. These bots can accelerate operations and, even better than their human counterparts, make no mistakes.
If you’re curious about the type of tech coming to a warehouse near you, read about the five new robots below.
1. Sortation Robots
This robot, which uses advanced software to handle packages reliably, will easily transform multiple industries. In warehouses, a sortation robot can route boxes, bags and envelopes based on any predefined sortation logics, such as destination, volume, weight, industry and more. These logics are customizable based on a business’ unique dynamic or needs.
Beyond the ability to sort packages quickly and more reliably, sortation robots can also determine exact shipping costs upfront based on volumetric and gross weight. For warehouses, this means they can fulfill deliveries more quickly and efficiently, even during peak demand times.
2. Fulfillment Robots
With smartphones, laptops, tablets and more, there are hundreds of ways people can place orders and opt for conveniences like same-day delivery. This evolution in customer preferences has forced companies to meet demands by improving efficiency and reducing the amount of time between an order placement and delivery.
That’s where fulfillment robots come in. These autonomous mobile bots can travel around the warehouse much like human workers, putting away stock, taking inventory and picking orders. The bot uses sensors and machine learning algorithms to perfectly navigate any building without help.
3. Pneumatic Arm Robots
Pneumatic arm robots are already in use in manufacturing plants across the world, building many of the items we own. They also play a vital role in other industries as surgical assistants, entertainment, crop harvesters, educational toys and more. As technology advances, so do the capabilities of these bots.
Now, many warehouses are adopting pneumatic arms that can move almost organically, able to do multiple tasks instead of repeating the same motion over and over again. These new robots incorporate 2D and 3D cameras which capture images in rapid succession to input the correct arm positions. When used to pick orders, a pneumatic arm can work just as quickly as a human — but it never needs to take a break.
4. Goods-to-Person Robots
Not all manufacturing operations can work automatically. They still require humans to intervene and make some of the decisions. In this instance, goods-to-person bots can eliminate the long, unnecessary walk around a giant warehouse. What most companies like about these bots is that they are incredibly reliable and simple to use.
With the use of sensors, artificial intelligence (AI) and smart mobility, these bots can deploy in almost any type of location, and are a common sight in medical facilities and large retail stores. These bots add a new level of efficiency to warehouse operations, as managers or staff can continue to work as the bots locate and bring items back.
5. Cloud-Based Robots
Cloud-based robots are also called perception-guided robots, using cloud-based AI to form a “brain.” While the robots are in the warehouses completing a variety of customizable functions, the technology allows the deep-learning neural network, the foundation of the bots’ intelligence, to exist remotely.
These cloud-based robots are relatively new to the industry, but can already be put to use grabbing individual items, sorting, making deliveries and more. The bots use various sensors, including 3D cameras, to localize, identify and grasp the correct objects.
The Future of Robot Technology
Robots in the workplace, especially in warehouses, is a rapidly growing trend. Companies that have already adopted the use of bots — like Adidas, Amazon, Tesla, Walmart and many more — are leading the way in quick delivery and satisfied customers.
Warehouses are already using robots to accomplish labor in efficient and meaningful ways. As consumer appetites grow for the quick delivery of products, so will the use of bots to fulfill orders promptly and accurately. By 2020, experts predict more than 3 million robots will be in use in factories and warehouses around the globe.
Warehouses are currently adopting the robots above in new and exciting ways. And, as technology develops and consumer demands grow, we can expect to see new competitors enter the market in the coming years.