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Why do they use robots in the materials handling industry?

Written by

Neil Martin

Neil Martin

Simply put, there aren’t enough people who want to work in the materials handling industry.

Agencies are struggling to find the people needed to fill these vacancies, especially during busy periods of the year, like Christmas. For the warehouse company, this means they end up paying more money for labour. And if you have to work through an agency, it is no longer cheap labour. And having to upskill these people very quickly is often a burden at first.

Once the individuals are upskilled, the work is very process orientated. This is the perfect type of work to go alongside automation. When a worker gets an order list through, a robot can already get it off the shelf for collection. This saves the worker going up and down, shifting heavy materials and going into uncomfortable environments.

There are enough options out there for anyone looking at integrating automation in their workplace. The most popular include unmanned and autonomous vehicles. There are also a wide range of other systems, including Scallog. This is billed as a revolutionary "Mobile Robotic Fulfillment System". Through mobile robots, autonomous workstations and smart shelving, warehouses can work more efficiently in a smaller space.

Then there is LA-based inVia Robotics, this focuses on picking systems for ecommerce operations and the update includes inVia Connect, which streamlines integration, and the ability to automate replenishment, cycle counting and returns. 

inVia's automation system is powered by inVia Logic, which calculates and synchronises inventory movements for a variety of business cases, and inVia Command, which maps a warehouse and designs optimised workflows based on those calculations. 

Robots are actively being used in this sector and they are used very much in a collaborative fashion. 

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