In few industries is the drive for greater efficiency as all-encompassing as in logistics, where speed and accuracy are an imperative.
Technology is often seen as the key to unlocking greater efficiency warehouse storage and inventory management, and yet warehouse automation is still in its relative infancy.
There can be no doubt, though, that it is gaining momentum. Automated warehouse picking, for instance, is something that is being introduced by many businesses as they look to speed up order fulfillmentto meet ever-increasing demand and growing customer expectations.
What is automated warehouse picking?
Automated warehouse order picking refers to the process of placing products, picking, and retrieving them from, specified storage areas and storage bins in a warehouse with the help of technology.
Automated warehouse picking may be entirely robotic or semi-robotic, with robots working alongside and enhancing the work of human pickers.
The benefits of automated warehouse picking include:
• Quicker sorting times
• Reduced walk sequences.
• Optimized picking routes
• Improved pick accuracy
With order picking accounting for more than half of a fulfillment centre’s operations and around 55% of a warehouse’s operating costs, it’s not difficult to see why it is a key area for consideration when it comes to storage optimization.
Types of automated warehouse picking
Pick and place robots have long been used in manufacturing to speed up the process of picking up stock and placing them into other locations, removing repetitive tasks from human workers and freeing them up to focus on more complex work.
Usually mounted on a stable stand, they use advanced vision systems to identify, grasp and move objects from one place to another, and can be configured with various arm end tools depending on whether they are required to pick from pick bins / pick faces, pack boxes, or assemble packaging.
Some of the most common types of pick and place robots include:
• Robotic arms – The most common type of pick and place robots, 5-axis arm robots take care of operations in a single plane, while 6-axis arm robots are used to perform more complex tasks, such as when objects must be twisted and re-oriented during a move.
• Cartesian – These robots work similarly to 6-axis arm robots, in multiple planes, but are typically more accurate.
• Delta – Often used to pick items in groups, Delta robots have advanced vision technologies that allow them to distinguish between different shapes, sizes, and colors. Most have three lightweight robotic arms operating on four axes.
• Fast pick – Ideal for use in medium and high-volume applications, these fully automate the picking process. Great for picking fast-moving, promotional or ‘top-off’ items like batteries, they can pick up to 300 SKUs per hour from a pool of eight.
• Collaborative – These augment the work of human beings by leading pickers to pick locations and guiding them through each picking task. They can be programed to work alongside human beings in following discrete, batch, zone and cluster picking methods. Benefits of collaborative robots include increased focus on the job and the ability to benefit from optimized pick sequences and routes in real-time.
PALLITE™: Supporting automated warehousing picking.
At PALLITE™ Group, we welcome greater use of technology within the warehouse as part of the drive for increased efficiencies in logistics.
We are already working with several robotics suppliers to optimize the design of our PIX™ range of warehouse storage solutions for this purpose.
PALLITE™ PIX™ is our original warehouse shelving unit, while PIX™ Slots is ideal for smaller, lighter SKUs, PIX™ Slots Angled , PIX™ Slots Angled with rearwards-angled shelves and PIX™ XL Bin Box for larger SKUs. They all help to improve pick efficiency by consolidating multiple pick faces into a single pallet racking footprint that can be tailored to suit the shape and size of products.
All PIX™ warehouse storage units come with palletised bases, making them easy to move with forklifts or pallet pump trucks, even when they are fully loaded. They are mounted on a skid that can also be easily adapted for use with Goods-to-Person (GTP) autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), and we are working on an optimised design for use with collaborative (co-bot) AMRs.
We’ve also left flat edge space on each PIX® shelf edge to provide space for the barcodes and other product identifiers that assist both humans and technological solutions to locate and pick the correct items every time.
Our PIX™ shelving range is available in single, and twin sided to maximize storage capacity and warehouse space whilst maintaining organization, increasing picking efficiency time and accuracy.
“At PALLITE™ Group, we don’t believe in doing things for the sake of it, when we could be doing them better. Just as we in our business want to be working faster, smarter, and with more mind to our impact on people and planet, we want to help businesses to do the same through our products. For this reason, we’re always innovating to make sure our products offer ultimate performance, flexibility, and usability as standard, move with the times, and help businesses get ready for the future that’s on the horizon.”
PALLITE® GROUP CEO, IAIN HULMES.
If you’re looking for industrial warehouse shelving that will work for humans and technology alike, look no further than PALLITE™ PIX™, the sustainable, future-ready choice for forward-thinking businesses looking to solve current and impending warehouse storage challenges.
Find out more about the PALLITE™ PIX™ range in our blog looking at the top 10 storage solutions for more efficient warehouses.