Upcoming SaaS in robotic process automation in logistics
Robotics technology is progressing slowly but surely in careful and thoughtful stages. Robots are among us right now.
Personal robots are busy cleaning the inside of our homes and helping to maintain our gardens. Commercial robots are busy with the manufacturing side of the supply chain, mainly in the automotive industry. But where are all the robots in the logistics environment? Why are there so many advanced robots in warehouses that help tackle today's distribution challenges? Robotics technology is progressing slowly but surely in careful and thoughtful stages. Robots are among us right now.
This article on Logistics Trends explores these issues in detail. You will find that designing an advanced robot is costly and a major technological challenge. You will find that the distribution environment is complex and difficult to automate. But every day, there are breakthroughs in robotics that help us overcome these challenges.
Robotic process automation in logistics
There are several important technological trends that will greatly influence our future in a positive way. Examples include sustainable energy, health informatics, 3D printing, gene sequencing, big data analytics, and self-driving cars. It is easy to see how progress in these areas will improve our lives.
Another important technological trend that will have a profound and positive impact on society is the development of advanced robotics. Every day, innovative robots support doctors with less aggressive and safer operations. In hospitals, robots work with nurses to provide immediate food and medication to patients.
The robots are being developed to remove dangerous landmines and support disaster recovery in a way that would be too risky for humans.
The robots work together with the factory workers to collect goods around the world with higher quality and lower prices. Personal robots are available to help us in our homes, mowing the lawn, watering the garden, and vacuuming the living room.
Robotic prosthetics and Exoskeletons help amputees and elderly people to function again, allowing them to remain active in society.
These robots are already advancing our lives by eliminating tasks that are dangerous, repetitive, tedious or boring and give us improved skills in precision, precision, and strength. Robots increase our productivity and enable us to do more every day, even in a world where the working population is getting older.
Until now, robotics technology hasn't had much of an impact on the world of logistics. This should change as advanced robots enter our warehouses, sorting centers, and even help with delivery to the destination. Logistics workers will benefit from cooperation with robots, while customers will see faster service and higher quality. Imagine a world where people can focus on work that makes sense and is more enjoyable. Imagine a world in which repetitive, tedious, or dangerous manual labor is unusual. The dream of a supply chain logistics that is faster, safer, and more productive.
RPA in logistics and supply chain
Automation speeds up logistics by eliminating the human factor. Logistics automation goes along several vectors at once, thanks to the emergence of several families of different robots. It is one of the fastest-growing segments of custom robotics development.
Autonomous controlled vehicles. As a rule, these are carts designed for the transport of goods, which are controlled by the warehouse system. The carts have a share of autonomy - they do not collide with people, stationary obstacles, and other objects moving around the warehouse. AGVs are used in manufacturing plants and warehouses. As a rule, warehouse AGVs have a number of features, which allows them to be distinguished into a separate class. Some AGVs serve as a mobile platform for a robotic arm or other production equipment, allowing you to quickly configure production lines for specific tasks.
Robotic luggage trolleys
The motorized luggage trolley is capable of transporting a passenger's suitcases, following a clerk assisting a passenger with reduced mobility.
Robotic cargo transport
Autonomous freight transport performing logistic tasks. In development for 2020, but a lot of tests have already been carried out.
Railway automated transport
Autonomous rail transport capable of solving logistic problems. A number of developments in this area are known, including a practical implementation in Australia, where the world's first line is operating to deliver the products of a mining enterprise to a seaport for subsequent transportation to customers.
Postal robots - parcel machines
A postal robot is a device that automates the receipt and delivery of parcels. 24/7.
There are several different approaches to warehouse robotization. One of the approaches implies that part or all of the loaders are replaced by robotic ones, which cope with the tasks of moving pallets or racks with loads without human intervention.
Cargo ships (bulk carriers) are being developed for autonomous (or using telecontrol) transportation of goods by water.
Street robots - couriers
In 2016, several companies were testing such robots. According to some companies, commercial use of street courier robots started in 2017.
The workforce of the future in logistics - robots or workers?
In recent years, robotics is an intensively developing field, the main task of which is to automate the production and social life of people. If we talk about robotics in logistics, then there are already several varieties of robots, as well as complex solutions for the automation of warehouses.
Automated warehouse types
The robotic trolleys can autonomously move pallets around the warehouse area. Some of them are able to automatically remove the desired goods from the shelf and place them in containers or on a pallet, as well as arrange them on the shelves.
Many of these products require warehouse preparation — marking the floor or installing special markings (reflective or wireless) on shelves and walls — to use. However, there are already systems that do not require warehouse layout - they have technical vision and are guided by artificial intelligence, for example, the Toru Cube system from Magazino.
Sorting robots. Indispensable when packing goods, for example, in online trading systems. They must be able to find an item from a heap, with its exact identification. This can be done, provided that there is a digital base of three-dimensional images of all objects that the robot manipulates.
There was an experience of creating robots designed to work in warehouses, in which one of the robots removes goods from the shelves, while the others transport these goods to the point of issue.
Palletizing robots. Typically, this is an industrial manipulator, driven by servo motors, designed to automatically pick up and place goods on pallets.With the help of quadcopters, they learned how to conduct a quick inventory of warehouses with hard-to-reach shelves.
Automation of warehouses is proceeding at a high rate, and there are fears that the number of vacancies for people will significantly decrease in the coming years. Unions are already raising concerns: “Employers are looking to automate more and more processes, and I think we will have to address these challenges when negotiating the terms of employment contracts in the coming years,” said Steve Weirma, the union's head of warehouse workers. If in the United States, automation in grocery retail is proceeding slowly, in mid-2016, no more than 8% of distribution centers of the 75 largest American networks were automated, for example, about 45 thousand Kiva robots are currently involved in automated distribution centers of Amazon.
Markets & Markets Research predicts that warehouse robotization will continue at a high pace between 2017 and 2022, showing a CAGR of 11.8%. By this time, the market volume will increase to $ 4.44 billion.
Final thoughts on logistics automation trends
The transition to robotic warehouses is a worldwide trend. This is due to the need to speed up logistics processes in large warehouses, where human capabilities have reached the limit. Inventory management using robotic systems is cost-effective, eliminates errors, and minimizes accidents and risks to people. Today it is one of the best examples of the Internet of Things - the potential for such logistics is enormous.
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