Market for logistics robots predicted to exceed $75 billion in 10 years

Mobile robotics in material handling and logistics will become a $75 billion market by 2027, according to a new report, which adds that it will be more than double by 2038. 

These staggering headline figures mask turbulent transformative change underneath: some technologies will rise and transform the fortunes of industries, fuelling growth rates far outpacing recent trends, whilst others will face with decay and obsolescence.

“We are at the beginning of the beginning of a transformative change, and the time to plan is now,” says the report by IDTechEx Research.  Continue reading Market for logistics robots predicted to exceed $75 billion in 10 years

Logistics automation startup Grabit ships products to two Fortune 100 companies

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Grabit, a startup automation systems provider to the manufacturing and warehouse logistics industries, has shipped multiple units of its material handling robot, Stackit, to what it says is “an industry-leading athletic shoe and apparel company”.

Grabit also shipped multiple units of Meterit, its “intelligent conveyor system”, to a “global leader” in express package delivery services.

To date, Grabit has secured $25 million in financing from investors and strategic partners. This funding is being applied to develop flexible robotic automation solutions that leverage Grabit’s electroadhesion technology and machine learning software to provide up to 20x productivity improvement for its customers’ operations.  Continue reading Logistics automation startup Grabit ships products to two Fortune 100 companies

ABB makes SafeMove2 control software available on the IRB 1200 industrial robot

ABB IRB 1200 Robot

Monitoring and control software now comes with company’s smallest material and machine tool handling robot 

ABB Robotics says SafeMove2 is now also available for IRB 1200, the smallest ABB robot to feature its advanced safety-certified monitoring and control software.

SafeMove2 enables people to work safely alongside ABB robots with payloads ranging from 6kg to 800kg without compromising productivity.

It also provides an optimum level of collaboration and flexibility to higher speed and throughput applications which typically require more insular, intrusive levels of safety.  Continue reading ABB makes SafeMove2 control software available on the IRB 1200 industrial robot

Seegrid expands Supervisor API to provide interoperability across automation systems

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Seegrid, a provider of flexible automated materials handling solutions, has expanded its Supervisor application programming interface to offer more advanced, connected solutions for customers.

Seegrid says the new API delivers on the promise of automation beyond materials movement, providing real-time interoperability to improve facility operations.

Interconnectedness is critical for automation systems, and Supervisor’s API addresses that growing demand, says Seegrid.  Continue reading Seegrid expands Supervisor API to provide interoperability across automation systems

Automation fails without aligning materials support function with demand, says Synchrono

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By Thomas R. Cutler

Robot-to-person solutions are on a rapid trajectory for 2017 and beyond. Yet discrete manufacturing organizations which initiate material replenishment automation programs without properly analyzing processes and priorities for internal and external stakeholders, find far less value than anticipated.

Manufacturers are unsure about current replenishment capabilities within ERP (enterprise resource planning) and other systems, and are even less clear whether to fix, buy, or build a solution to gain the capabilities needed.

Too often disruptions in leadership and a change-averse environment can create barriers to improved production flow and automating processes.

The manufacturing sector is well-served when considering whether a replenishment solution can enhance flow and enable continuous improvements; often best practice robotic solutions follow.  Continue reading Automation fails without aligning materials support function with demand, says Synchrono

Yaskawa Motoman demonstrates new range of robots at IMTS

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Yaskawa Motoman has demonstrated a range of new automation solutions for material handling, human-robot collaboration, and mobile machine tending and material movement during IMTS 2016.  Continue reading Yaskawa Motoman demonstrates new range of robots at IMTS

The role of experts in distribution center robotics and automation

viastore

By Thomas R. Cutler

Distribution centers are facing ever shorter delivery times, requiring higher flexibility and efficient goods management; distribution centers are vital competitive factors for companies in trade and industry.

Perfect supply chain management is the basic requirement and there are few tested experts in the planning and implementation of customized warehousing systems for distribution and logistics.

From small warehouse facilities (under 50,000 square feet) to very large DCs (1M+ square feet), finding the right solutions for distribution centers or logistics centers must be turnkey, including warehouse technology, equipment, control system, software, and construction work.  Continue reading The role of experts in distribution center robotics and automation

Market for automated material handling equipment to reach $45 billion by 2022

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By Thomas R. Cutler

Research and Markets released data suggesting that the automated material handling equipment market is expected to reach $44.68 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 7.9 percent between 2016 and 2022.

According to the analysis, market growth is propelled by increasing demand for automated solutions; the need to ensure a safe working environment; and reduction in labor cost through advanced robotics. Unit load material handling systems are estimated to hold a large share and grow at a high CAGR in the automated material handling equipment market during the forecast period.

Unit load material handling systems are widely used in various industries as they are cost effective and have many advantages such as the ability to handle several items simultaneously, thereby reducing the number of trips, time required for loading and unloading, and the cost of handling.  Continue reading Market for automated material handling equipment to reach $45 billion by 2022

Harvest Automation sells robotic warehouse business to focus on agriculture

Harvest Automation has sold its robotic warehouse automation technology and business to focus on robotic material handling in a variety of agriculture markets.

Harvest developed what it says are “groundbreaking robotic systems” for e-commerce order fulfillment over the last year and a half.

The company had completed a small fleet of robots that demonstrated a three-fold increase in order picking efficiency.  Continue reading Harvest Automation sells robotic warehouse business to focus on agriculture

Distribution requires a warehouse control system

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By Thomas R. Cutler

Automated conveying systems in distribution and warehouse environments need to pivot. Dropping in a conveyor system without a warehouse control system (WCS) makes no sense.

Bill Maple, director of software solutions for conveyor company Hytrol, shared new approaches connecting business systems to warehouse automation.

Working closely with a network of integration partners this approach is obvious for new implementations.  That said with a strong economy, Maple noted that existing systems are being reconfigured to operate differently, or legacy systems are requiring technology or automation upgrades.  Continue reading Distribution requires a warehouse control system

The critical role of innovative automation for fast-growing online retailers

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Inside the Backcountry.com warehouse

By Thomas R. Cutler

Park City, Utah-based Backcountry.com is a great example of the powerful growth in the online e-tailing sector. Twenty years ago the company comprised of two men, a stack of avalanche beacons, and a garage in Park City; the company has grown to become one of the leading online specialty retailers in the United States, selling clothing and outdoor gear for hiking, camping, road biking, mountain hiking, rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, skiing, avalanche safety, snowboarding, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, road and trail running, and more.

Jeff Carter, senior vice president of global fulfillment, at Backcountry.com, says: “Our mission is to connect people to their passions and enable them to get outdoors and enjoy the gear.”

When Carter started with the company in 2001, it shipped 265 packages on its busiest day. This past year, the company shipped about 60,000 on its busiest day. The journey has involved quite a transformation in material handling and distribution. The role of automation has made this all possible.  Continue reading The critical role of innovative automation for fast-growing online retailers

SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for NASA Mars 2020 Project

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Space Systems Loral (SSL) says it will design and build a robotic Sample Handling Assembly (SHA) for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) through MDA US Systems, a division of MDA, managed by SSL.

The arm will be used on a rover vehicle exploring Mars to process and store samples acquired from the planet’s surface.

“Our space-proven technology positions SSL well to help support JPL’s robotic space exploration activities,” said Nick Zello, director, emerging markets operations.

“As an industry partner we bring cost-effective solutions and a highly responsive and flexible environment to assist NASA in its mission to bring the world new insights and discoveries.” Continue reading SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for NASA Mars 2020 Project

Schunk grippers help visions become reality

Schunk
Schunk LDx linear direct axes are already widely used today in high-performance assembly.

Admittedly, the iron hand of the legendary knight Götz von Berlichingen and Schunk’s 5-finger hand have very little in common. Yet it cannot be denied that the first personal handshake with the agile high-tech gripper creates an unnerving feeling.

The soft handshake soon dispels all skepticism, however, giving way to enthusiasm for the possibilities of modern mechatronics.

Since the Hannover Messe 2015, where the mechatronic masterpiece caused a sensation in the media, the innovative SCHUNK gripper has become the shooting star in the area of flexible handling. Continue reading Schunk grippers help visions become reality