A warehouse, distribution facility, and fulfillment center are a crucial part of any business. Nonetheless, the emergence of robotics and digital transformation technologies has transformed them into strategic sites for businesses to develop a lean supply chain. Within the past few years, warehouse operations have been transformed to a great extent and the reason for this is the introduction of warehouse robots. They have revolutionized warehouse operations by shortening the time-work component faster than humans. The complex warehouse robotics technologies help speed up order fulfillment via numerous processes such as sending supply and demand signals, collecting, picking, packing, transporting, and shipping goods. At times, they do all the operations without any human supervision and depend on intelligent programming built within their control systems.
The warehouse robotics market is witnessing rapid growth due to the increased demand for automation, high level of competition in the e-commerce industry, and the advancement in technology. According to the report by Allied Market Research, the warehouse robotics market is likely to garner $5,186 million by 2023, thereby registering a CAGR of 11.6% during the forecast period, 2017 – 2023.
Warehouse robotics are emerging worldwide from several companies. The e-commerce giant Amazon began employing the warehouse robot known as Kiva robots which revolutionized the warehousing industry worldwide. These robots are capable of lifting a bulk of items and dropping them at different places for packing across the warehouse. Sensors attached to the bots prevent crashes and impacts while the in-built algorithms assist in making decisions related to the operations. More companies in the space such as Knapp, Locus Robotics, GreyOrange, Scallog, Swisslog Holding, and Fetch Robotics also moved forward in the field by deploying robotic equipment in their warehouses for achieving enhanced production and logistics.
Several acquisitions and launches took place in the space recently. For instance, Amazon purchased Canvas Technology, a warehouse robotics startup to expand Amazon Robotics’ growing portfolio of fulfillment center machines. Robotics company Boston Dynamics recently announced its acquisition of Kinema Systems a provider of 3D vision software which allows robotic arms to lift and drop pallets in warehouses. Prime Robotics, spun out of Bleum, a software outsourcing company that deals with supply chain systems announced the deployment of its Mobile Shelf logistics robot system for a recently established warehouse in Prague, Czech Republic. RK Logistics Group, a company providing enhanced logistics recently deployed robots in its warehouses and distribution centers.
Amazon Buys Canvas Technology
Canvas was bought by Amazon recently with the aim to enhance the latter’s efficiency in warehousing operations. The acquisition is the e-commerce giant’s second in the warehouse robotics space, the first being Kiva Systems for $775 million. A manufacturer of a fully autonomous robotic cart system, Canvas helps Amazon to enhance its gains in warehouse efficiency. Amazon plans to start its preparation to sell or license its warehouse robots to third-party retailers and logistics companies and it believes that the integration of Canvas robots would be a blessing to those efforts. Amazon says that Canvas Technology’s innovations greatly inspire them and that they share a common vision for a future where people work with robotics to enhance safety and the workplace experience.
Boston Dynamics Makes Entry to Warehouse Robots Market
The acquisition of Kinema Systems, a developer of software called Pick, was recently announced by Boston Dynamics. According to Marc Raibert, founder and CEO at Boston Dynamics, the incorporation of Kinema into Boston Dynamics extends their vision and learning abilities while the Pick quickens their entry into the logistics industry. He also said that Kinema Technology would assist their mobile manipulation robots to deal with a range of complex jobs of the real world. Moreover, the purchase of Kinema also helps Boston Dynamics establish a Silicon Valley outpost, which is based in Waltham, Mass. The plan is aimed at extending the team at the new location and concentrating on robotic products for logistics and creation of deep learning and vision technology for Boston Dynamics’ growing family of robots.
Prime Robotics Deploys Warehouse Robotic System
Prime Robotics successfully deployed its Mobile Shelf logistics robot system for a recently established warehouse in Prague, Czech Republic. Fordist, a leading provider of third-party logistics (3PL) in Europe, said that they opted for Prime Robotics due to the robustness of their hardware platform and their pedigree building warehouse management software. The company also said that the Mobile Shelf system has been operating in a smooth manner for months and that they were impressed with its simplicity of use, is a significant increase in picking speeds of their warehouse workers, and the efficient customer support from Prime. Two models of Mobile Shelf robots were applied by Prime. The first is the T-1000 which can lift loads up to 500kg along with piece picking stations for small to medium-sized goods. Another is the T-2000 Shelf robots which are capable of lifting pallets up to 1,000 kg with a corresponding pallet pick station. According to Prime, its partnership with Fordist allows it to capitalize on its Mobile Shelf warehouse robots to gain a competitive advantage in central Europe.
RK Logistics Group Deploys Robots in its Warehouses
RK Logistics Group, a third-party logistics firm recently announced the deployment of Fetch Robotics’ CartConnect autonomous mobile robots (AMR) in its warehouses and distribution centers after piloting them. The new robots help in the tasks of fulfillment and shipping for high-tech manufacturing customers. They also relieve employees from difficult and cheap jobs, thus freeing up time for them to focus on more productive tasks. According to the company, the CartConnect autonomous mobile robots also help ease personnel pressures and are a great tool to attract employees as repetitive tasks and walking back-and-forth has been eliminated.