Picking Robots in the Warehouse and How They Will Replace Humans

Martijn Graat
Martijn Graat
Herbert ten Have talking about picking robots
Herbert ten Have

The Does LogisticsMatter? Podcast is all about trends and innovations in supply chain and logistics. This episode features Herbert ten Have, CEO at Fizyr. In this episode, Herbert and I talk about robots in the warehouse, specifically picking robots. Herbert talks about the latest trends in robotics and dives deeper into what it takes to enable a robot to pick up items.

Trends in Warehouse Robotics

The number of robots working in warehouses keeps increasing. Some of these robots move around in automated storage and retrieval systems. Others drive around the warehouse carrying pallets or picking carts to or from warehouse workers. These are relatively rudimentary activities. Moving from point A to point B is fairly simple.

It gets a lot more complex when robots need to pick goods from a conveyor belt or shelving, a pallet or a container.

Get a Grip

A robot in itself doesn’t have to be complex. It is a piece of machinery that can perform various movements from a static position or from a platform that can move around. If you don’t tell a robot precisely what to do and how to do it, it can punch right through a box or a bag or squeeze too hard and break something. Picking up something is where the complexity comes in.

Boxes can have different shapes and sizes, and it gets even more interesting when goods are oddly shaped or packed in a plastic bag. The software used to control the robot needs to learn the different shapes and sizes. Artificial intelligence and complex algorithms come into play.

Picking Robots Replacing Warehouse Workers

A properly trained picking robot, controlled by the right software, can pick up, move and put down differently shaped items. This enables the robot to load and unload containers or trucks, palletise or de-palletize boxes, or pick items from a tote or a conveyor belt to move them to another tote or conveyor belt.

If you want to learn more about the technology behind picking robots and how and when robots will replace warehouse workers in the future, then click one of the buttons below to listen to the conversation I had with Herbert.

This blogpost is sponsored by Fizyr.

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