One of the most critical elements to any DC is productivity. With growing ecommerce demands and supply chain issues, labor productivity has become a leading focus for many companies. Autonomous mobile robots, or AMRs, are the latest trend in warehouse automation. Ecommerce, retailers, and 3PLs are turning to AMRs to alleviate the costs associated with fulfillment. Still, while many companies are turning to AMRs during the labor shortage, many are still very leery about the ROI from this leading trend in warehouse technology.
AMR technology uses many of the same technology concepts as self-driving cars and trucks. Many companies are applying these technologies in a variety of solutions for warehouse and distribution operations. Robotic arms and grippers for picking products are also being developed to offer the flexibility to pick and transport goods.
So, what are the advantages of autonomous mobile robots? AMRs offer numerous advantages over traditional fixed automation systems including flexibility, scalability, and cost savings.
Increased Throughput and Productivity
AMRs can reduce travel 30-70% and double productivity by orchestrating and optimizing work amongst human workers and robots. Leaving monotonous and repetitive tasks to robots allows humans to perform the more detailed functions that cannot be achieved through robotics.
Since AMRs are mobile as their name suggests, they can be deployed to travel through an existing facility without changing the layout or any existing fixed structures. AMRs can also adapt to changes that happen within their environment and can easily define new drop off or induction points through small software changes.
Traditional automation methods are sized to handle the maximum throughput which may only be reached a few weeks per year; however, robotic solutions can be scaled up or down to fluctuate with changing demands by adding or subtracting robots.
AMRs cost significantly less than traditional large-scale automation systems. While many robots are roughly $30,000 a robot, they aren’t a low-cost solution since many goods to man or robot solutions require three or more robots per picker.