Vanderlande’s customers demand greater flexibility and a higher level of logistics automation. Robotics is becoming increasingly important in this area, for example, when (de)palletising products. This can help to improve and optimise efficiency, profitability, operational availability and ergonomics. There is a large scope for potential robotic applications – especially in warehouse automation – and this is set to become increasingly prominent.
Today’s e-commerce distribution centres (DC) need to pick a large variety of items, which results in increasingly complex operations. Alongside this, the scarcity of manual labour further increases the pressure on DC performance. Smart Item Robotics (SIR) – also known as collaborative robotics or cobots – is an effective and risk-free way to gradually introduce robotic technology into a DC while retaining high levels of scalability and flexibility.
Vanderlande Robotics is overseeing a number of projects to develop workable robotic technology in anticipation of customer demand. It has a minority share in robotics development company Smart Robotics, which develops, sells and rents modular collaborative robots that can be configured for specific tasks such as order picking and placing, (de)palletising, and bagging where human operators are involved.
In the near future, robotic technology will be developed for other market segments, such as airports and parcel. In the warehousing sector, automatic item picking and ULD loading are promising examples of applications offered to Vanderlande’s customers.
Robotic technology provides a number of benefits, including: