One of the biggest problems that occur in the big warehouses is the movement of good from one place to the other. If the warehouse is very large then it takes the enormous amount of time to move the good from one part of the warehouse to the other part. Also, this movement requires the large number of manual labour which eventually increases the cost of production.
The main companies that have to deal with these types of situation are the e-commerce giants that offer products across multiple categories. They have to move large number roof products from one part of the warehouse to the other which is both time and labour consuming.
To overcome this problem Amazon has patented a technology of tossing the items with the help of robotics arm.
Why this technology?
The robots are becoming increasingly sophisticated in regards to the complexity of the tasks that they can perform. This increased sophistication results from improved functionality of the robot as well as improved automation that leverages the functionality to implement more complex tasks.
So, robots can assist humans in certain works and could also replace humans in some of the works which are more suited or more efficient for the robot.
One particular area where robotic automation could be used is the order fulfillment and inventory control. Large retailers, warehouse operators, or distributors, like Amazon, rely on these robots to assist human workers in fulfilling orders. These robots not only minimises the effort but also saves a lot of time.
Such retailers, warehouse operators, or distributors house their inventory in one or more distribution sites. The warehouse or the distribution site is typically a very large enclosed space with a large number of shelves located throughout the space.
The shelves could be several feet high with several rows. On each row, there are several bins that store certain quantities of the same item. In some cases, the items are stacked directly on these shelf rows without the bins.
The partial robotic automation could be used rather than a human worker to traverse the warehouse in order to locate each item of a customer order. It is because that the robots perform the retrieval operation for the human, thereby freeing the human to focus on more important tasks like fulfilling and ensuring correctness of the order.
How does this technology work?
The robots are fully autonomous and the order fulfilment involves robots directly pulling the items that the customer ordered from distribution site shelves or pulling individual bins from shelves in the warehouse and then dispensing appropriate quantities of items from those bins until all items that the customer ordered are retrieved.
The whole process is completed without human involvement. In some process, robots monitor the item quantities within the warehouse and autonomously restocking shelves in response to item shortages and also organising the items within the warehouse so that the item should be easily located next time.
The whole system primarily involves the main control centre and few robots. The control centre configures the robots with the order fulfilment tasks, inventory management tasks, and warehouse optimisation tasks that they have to perform.
Now, each robot is then configured with an array of sensors and actuators that allow the robots to move within the warehouse. All the robots could easily navigate within the distribution site to identify shelves where customer order items are located.
The next biggest challenge for the amazon will implement this technology in the warehouse safely. There will be many challenges in the implementation of technology.
They will have to focus on the things like how are they going to handle the things that are fragile also how much accurate is the robot in detecting the location of the goods ordered by the customer. Now, we will have to wait and see that how amazon goes with this technology.
Image Source: BusinessInsider