A workplace that requires no human intervention at all: what sounds very futuristic triggers enthusiasm in some, mixed feelings in others. In practice, some such warehouses already exist, which are either partially or fully automated and offer numerous advantages for employers and employees. However, the degree of automation varies from company to company and depends on the client’s needs and budget. Andreas Lehmann, our automation expert, answered our questions about this in an interview.
The possibilities are numerous, he says. In principle, a warehouse can even function entirely without on-site employees if the necessary monitoring and control is carried out via remote access. Only in the case of physical incidents does an employee need to be on site to check or correct the problem. However, these can be prevented by thorough preparatory work and a maintenance contract, as wear parts can be checked regularly. Malfunctions via the software can also be resolved remotely via a common VPN connection. The choice of software depends on the company and its products.
Thorough planning is the basis for a fully automated warehouse
In general, the more thorough the preparatory work, the smoother the automated process later on. For this, the conditions on the part of both the contractor and the client must be met. These include, above all, the processing of data that is essential for planning. This is the only way to create the right standards that ensure optimal, technical implementation.
As an expert in the field of automated warehouse solutions, AM Logistic Solutions has a high quality standard. Therefore, the data basis must first be correct before the automation team begins its work. This data includes, for example, the cubic capacity of the future warehouse, the load carriers used or the material flow figures provided by the customer. If this data is not available, it requires further lead time to collect and prepare it. The customer’s data evaluation is the basis for intralogistics planning as well as logistical, internal processes. The resulting future scenarios are developed in close consultation with the customer. The experience of AM Logistic Solutions is very crucial here and a great advantage for the customer.
Automation from goods receipt to automatic shipping
The range of automation solutions from AM is wide. Automation can already take place from delivery through storage and picking to goods issue, i.e. processes can be mapped completely without human intervention – roller conveyors, driverless transport systems, automatic storage systems, conveyor belts and suction and gripper robots make this possible. However, since the implementation is customized and needs-based, it can initially be partially automated in the first step.
Europe has so far lagged far behind America in terms of automation demand. But despite this, it is steadily increasing in this country. The drivers for this are advancing technologies, demographic change, and national and international competition. Although there are still some areas for which human sensitivity is irreplaceable, the many advantages are convincing more and more companies. These lie primarily in higher efficiency, cost savings and the competitive advantages gained as a result. Through standardization, processes can be streamlined and thus time can be saved as well as a larger volume can be implemented. Costs are largely saved in the area of operators for manual industrial trucks. In addition, employees can be deployed and trained in a more targeted manner in times of a shortage of skilled workers.
Even if an initial investment is required, the conversion will pay for itself quickly thanks to the benefits listed.
Andreas Lehmann and our team of experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have on this topic and will guide you through all the important steps in the implementation process.