Some industries are automating at a faster clip than others. Manufacturing has already been automated more than most, and continues to increase levels of automation across the board. Fast food and agriculture, after years of talking about automation, are finally beginning to see an uptick in actual implementation. But warehousing automation is going like gangbusters.
Or is it?
The Washington Post quotes an expert as saying that just 5% of warehouses are automated at this point.
Warehouses are good places for automation. Much of the work done in a warehouse falls into the category of dull, dirty, or dangerous — or all three. Accidents range from being crushed by forklifts to repetitive motion injuries, with heavy objects and the prospect of contact with hazardous materials as constant threats.
Robots can carry things from one place to another all day long without experiencing any negative consequences. And while human workers are still needed for problem solving and tasks requiring dexterity, a lot of warehouse work is just a matter of moving things from one place to another.
Warehousing automation can lead to improved accuracy, increased productivity, and lower labor costs. Automation can also help to improve safety in the workplace by reducing the need for manual handling of heavy or dangerous items. The result can be an improved bottom line for the company.
So you’d think that warehouse automation would be more widespread. It may be that Amazon and Walmart have given the impression, through their wholehearted embrace of it, that warehouses are generally further ahead on the road to automation than they actually are.
The technology exists
At the very least, we know that the technology works. Sometimes robotic feats are just proof of concept and not ready for the market. That’s not the case with warehouse automation.
Rexroth produces the components needed for warehouse automation. When you need service and support for Rexroth systems, we should be your first call.