Robotization with cobots in the logistics sector
Warehouse robots (cobots) are used to handle products – both those entering and those leaving the warehouse again. This allows you to automate almost all repetitive tasks within your company. On this page, we explain how that works.
How do you make your supply chain as efficient as possible?
Cobots and AMRs take over certain repetitive (partial) tasks from your employees. These repetitive tasks are often physically demanding or even dangerous. Cobots offer an effective way to apply automation and robotization in the logistics sector and achieve the desired efficiency within your company.
Whether automating operations within a distribution center or a fulfillment center for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), cobots contribute to increased productivity. Consider also logistics operations, such as supplying workstations during assembly of finished goods.
Whatever the ultimate goal of your warehouse, there are plenty of reasons (apart from productivity enhancement) to integrate warehouse robots and cobots into logistics. Consider:
- Reduce staff shortages;
- Accommodate peaks in production;
- Reduce physical strain on employees;
- Reduce travel time of order pickers;
- Deliver consistent (high) quality;
- Improve tracking of goods.
Want to know what the robotization of your logistics company looks like in practice? Then visit our spacious experience center.
How do you automate order picking?
Every warehouse has its own way of working. Examples of working methods used in a warehouse include order-by-order picking, wave picking and batch picking (also known as multi-order picking). Whatever strategy is used within your company, there are always opportunities for automation. For example, reduce the travel time of your warehouse workers by having AMRs transport the products. With a combination of AMRs and the cobot-with-vision system, you even have a fully automated order picker, without having to make any changes to your current warehouse setup.
What are AMRs?
AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) are a specific type of cobot and also serve as self-driving vehicles. AMRs create maps of the environment in which they move by using cameras and sensors. This form of navigation can be compared to that of a robotic vacuum cleaner. Because of this – unlike AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) – there is no need to place magnetic strips in the floor. Cameras and sensors give an AMR sufficient visibility of its surroundings to avoid unforeseen obstacles. Therefore, AMRs can drive in the same space where people are working. This fine feature also makes it easy to pick them up on the fly and deploy them in another location.
The MiR250 (with a load capacity of 250 kg) can drive through narrow aisles of only 90cm. Adjustments in the setup of your warehouse are therefore unnecessary in most cases.
But, of course, there are more activities you can robotize in your warehouse or logistics center. Consider:
- Moving roll containers or whole pallets autonomously by AMRs;
- Pick & Place on conveyor belts;
- Packing boxes and crates;
- Checking and sorting out the collo during batch picking;
- Labeling and setting up boxes;
- Sorting products and packages;
- Palletizing boxes, crates, buckets and bags.
Robotization in logistics: the applications of cobots
Cobots use a graphical user interface on a tablet or phone. This makes these warehouse robots extremely user-friendly. You don’t have to hire a robot programmer to set up your cobots for the task at hand. This also makes a cobot very flexible: you can easily give a cobot a different location or task yourself.
The difference with traditional warehouse robots is obvious: those are riveted to the floor. Cobots are not. Another difference is that traditional warehouse robots must work separately from your employees for safety. Cobots can be manually stopped and then immediately stop their work, allowing them to be safely in the same room as your employees.
Cobots are very precise and don’t get tired or sick. So: fewer accidents, mistakes, damaged inventory or wrong orders going to customers.
Cobots and AMRs are modular to implement, allowing you to quickly scale up when needed