Creating ROI using Mobile Robotics for Material Transport
New technologies for warehouse automation and the rise of mobile robotics for material handling have created fertile new ground for improving productivity in the warehouse operation. Most of us have seen photos or video of products from companies such as Fetch Robotics or Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) buzzing around a manufacturing operation, and even more have seen impressive footage of the robotic ‘dog’ from Boston Dynamics performing impressive physical feats.
Intuitively, we understand that autonomous mobile robots benefits the company and its human workers, but we may not have a complete picture of precisely HOW robots provide benefits. Let’s discuss several ways:
5 Benefits of AMRs
1. AMRs improve labor productivity
For human workers to be productive, they must stay on-task, with all necessary material and supplies. Autonomous mobile robots can step in to keep the worker supplied and to eliminate non-productive travel time. No need for the worker to step away from the point of work in search of parts or supplies – an AMR can bring the materials to the worker. With more time on task, productivity rises.
2. Reduce picking errors with AMRs
Shipping errors can be expensive. Not only does the company bear additional transport costs and potential product loss, but there is also a customer satisfaction impact which can be devastating over time. These errors can be eliminated at the source: picking. An autonomous robot which provides picking support, for example with an integrated screen requiring the picker to confirm that the correct item has been selected, can make it near-impossible for the pick error to occur.
3. AMRs reduce downtime caused by wasted travel of personnel
It’s well known that forklift accidents are a constant source of concern for the warehouse and production facility. People make mistakes, and thus human-controlled forklifts will inevitably have accidents. Autonomous mobile robots have developed artificial intelligence with significant and redundant safety requirements to ensure safe operation. AMRs boast arrays of onboard sensors and cameras intended to come as close as possible to eliminating safety incidents. Further, AMRs perform exactly as specified through software, without danger of performance changing due to fatigue, distraction, or boredom caused by repetitive tasks, as may be the case with forklifts under manual operation by a human worker.
4. Reduce new employee training time with AMRs
Worker turnover is higher than ever, and employee tenures are short. It is imperative that companies minimize the time it takes to train new team members. An AMR solution can help with this. By creating standard processes, clear onscreen instructions, and through simplification of tasks enabled by the collaborative robot, it’s possible to train an employee faster. The AMR can also help to support the employee’s training and learning, for example, by providing immediate feedback in a picking operation whether the correct item has been selected.
5. Maximize facility efficiency with AMRs
The autonomous mobile robot is not just for picking operations. AMRs can also be used for the automation of bulk material movement. For example, transfers of cases or pallets can be automated with an autonomous robot. Another exciting feature is the AMRs ability to eliminate the need for long runs of conveyors. Products such as the Fetch RollerTop create a virtual conveyor– which is easily modifiable, extendable, and frees up large volumes of floor space which might otherwise have been blocked with fixed infrastructure conveyor runs.
How to get started with autonomous mobile robots
Start by making contact with CSSI Technologies, Pennsylvania-based experts in AMR solutions for your supply chain management operations. The warehouse and manufacturing operation experts at CSSI will work with you to find your killer AMR application and will propose AMR solutions from leading robotics providers to fit your business. Contact us today to start with AMRs.