According to research, the upfront expenses of mobile robots might be yet another of those of stationary automation. To the growing list of industries where eCommerce is forcing improvements in warehouses, add e-grocery. Companies have increased their use of automation as a result of this trend, as well as the continuous rise of eCommerce.
The majority of the existing automation solutions, such as retrieving AS/RS, automated storage shuttles, automated sorting, robotic material handling, and conveyors, are complicated and inflexible systems. Mobile robotic automation systems, such as AGVs, AMRs, and mobile picking robots, have become more common in recent years, and a growing number of warehouses are opting to employ them to replace traditional fixed automation.
Four reasons why mobile robots is becoming the industry trend for warehouse automation are based on the market research study 'Mobile Robotics in Logistics, Warehousing, and Transportation 2022-2042.'
1. Cost and Return on Investment
Fixed automation necessitates a significant amount of initial investment. However, the report claims that the initial cost of mobile robots might be less than a third of the cost of fixed automation. Fixed automation also costs more to install, maintain, and power than mobile robots. As a result, the return on investment for mobile robots is roughly 1-2 years, whereas fixed automation can take 5-10 years.
Installing and commissioning fixed automation can take months, as it usually entails the construction of huge racks and long elevators. Installation is always time-consuming and expensive, and it is not always completed by the industrial automation providers themselves. While some mobile robots (such as AGVs) require fixed navigation equipment, the additional setup is significantly simpler and takes less time. As a result, AGV systems typically require only 2-6 weeks to install. The installation time for autonomous mobile robotic units can be reduced even further because robots just need to be shown about the operations and no additional changes to the surroundings are required.
It's difficult to grow the size or capability of fixed automation once it's implemented. However, the unit size of mobile robots can be quickly scaled so that businesses may deal with demand surges (for example, Black Friday) in the most cost-effective way possible by just growing the capability for a limited time. Furthermore, mobile robots assist warehouses or manufacturers in maintaining lean principles.
Mobile robots can work all day with just a few rests for charging, but they can only carry a specific load for each operation; nevertheless, fixed automation can transfer goods continually and flawlessly. Mobile robots may not be as efficient as stationary automation for huge material flows in large warehouses. However, mobile robots can always be used in conjunction with stationary automation to optimize warehouse processes.
Updating the fixed automation can cost more money and time than installing it, and it can also cause the entire production or operation to be interrupted. Mobile robotic systems, on the other hand, are far more adaptable. Even while AGVs require equipment, altering the fleet's activities just necessitates repositioning markers like as QR codes or magnetic tapes, which is far less difficult than reinstalling permanent automation. AMRs, on the other hand, do not require any necessary infrastructure and are even more adaptable. Mobile robots are thus well suited to dynamic material handling and production lines. In addition, the mobile robotic system takes up little or no space in warehouses, allowing for a more complicated and variable goods flow path.
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