Essential for survival – It’s time to embrace automation

To survive in these challenging times and meet new expectations, warehouses will have no choice but to embrace digitalisation and automation. Indeed, experts have predicted a surge in digital transformation over the next decade, which will bring fundamental changes to the warehouse operations of the future. Key technologies will include real-time data gathering, underpinned by the Internet of Things (IoT), delivering real-time visibility and allowing collaboration among processes and partners, to create more efficient and effective operating models.

Smart phones, mobile devices and apps have already equipped warehouse employees to access data anytime anywhere, using imaging, voice recognition and more to contribute towards increased performance and lower costs. While Autonomous Guided Vehicles or AGVs are already used by larger operators like Amazon, wider adoption has the potential to revolutionise movement of goods in and around the warehouse; drone technology too is proving increasingly popular as a safe and economical option for locating goods, managing inventory and stock-taking, all in a fraction of the time needed for manual equivalents, according to UKWA. This article was first published in the January 15th 2023 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.

Exotec has announced that its UK partner LAC Logistics Automation has signed a contract to deploy Exotec’s Skypod system to iForce, the UK’s premier solutions provider for multi-channel fulfilment and returns. LAC’s new customer acquirement will accelerate Exotec’s expansion into the UK market through the partnership. This is Exotec’s first major UK customer and represents a landmark deal for the French business, which was ranked 8th in the Financial Times FT 1000 list of fastest-growing European companies in 2022.

Automated robotic vehicles use AI-powered vision to travel without colliding. They can handle repetitive tasks including packing, picking, carrying inventory, and fulfilling orders faster than human workers. Machine learning is one of the applications of AI that allows us to learn from experience, says SCCG.

6 River Systems has announced new features for its wall-to-wall fulfilment solution that enhances productivity and flexibility for warehouse operators. Integrated with 6RS’ SaaS-based Fulfilment Execution System and autonomous mobile robot (AMR), Chuck, these new features position the company as the most configurable warehouse automation solution provider on the market.

6RS provides the tools and insights needed to maximise operations as fulfilment speed becomes a competitive differentiator for warehouse operators and the merchants they serve. ABB is expanding its FlexPicker(R) Delta robot portfolio with the IRB 365.

With five axes and 1.5kg payload, the IRB 365 is both flexible and the fastest in its class for reorienting packaged lightweight products such as cookies, chocolates, peppers, candies, small bottles, and parcels. Responding to the rise in e-commerce and growing demand for shelf ready packaged goods, the IRB 365 has been developed for applications including food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods, where production line speed and adaptability are essential. It is excellent to witness the innovations in automation, helping warehouses adapt to the changing times.

George Simpson

Features Editor