The future face of warehouses could potentially change drastically with the advent of automation – in other words, the arrival of robots. Automaton is not new to facilities such as warehouses, but the new technologies on the horizon will change things completely and may even remove the need for humans altogether. So what will these new warehouses look like?
What Might We See?
The development in technology means that we may see robotics taking the role of warehouse retrieval staff. Traditional warehouse vehicles can have robotic elements installed, turning them into an automated guided vehicle (AVG). An AVG can then rely on an automated storage and retrieval unit, or automated crane, to transfer the product to the AVG before taking it for dispatch. At every step of the way, the item will be tracked, with no space for human error.
What Are the Benefits?
The benefits of automation in the form of robotics as outlined above are multiple. A robot is far cheaper to run than an employee, especially when you are talking about working overnight or for long periods of time. Robots do not require holiday pay or overtime rates. Furthermore, the use of robots massively reduces the health and safety risk to humans at your warehouse – and anyone who works in a warehouse knows all about the many potential hazards and risks. Stock-taking is quicker and more reliable. No longer will staff need to put on harnesses or use a special lift or crane – stock-takes can be carried out by drone.
Aside from the obvious question of what all the people will do, there are some technical pitfalls to using AVGS. For instance, a human can deal with an ad-hoc situation such as an uneven floor, a spillage or a nail protruding from a pallet in the way that an AVG simply can’t. Before implementing a fully automated warehouse, it’s, therefore, an important consideration to make sure all your shelving, pallets and boxes are up to standard. If you need to purchase quality racking Ireland is home to some excellent retailers such as https://www.rackzone.ie/pallet-racking/.
Tomorrow’s automated warehouses will certainly look very different from today’s. They’ll be more efficient, safer and more economical. However, many firms have a long way to go in order to prepare for the changes ahead.