Over the past 15 years one has seen technology infiltrate in each and every corner of our lives. In parallel with this, as the automation technology develops and matures, we have seen automated warehouse being accepted as a standard technology. Technology is also improving simultaneously with the implementation of “hybrid” manual operations and handling techniques.
Developments in Automation
Within warehouse automation, the technologies that were at the “leading edge” 15 years ago are now widely accepted by various players in the industry. For instance, Automated pallet storage and retrieval. Most manufacturers in the maritime sector have adopted this as their strategic direction for warehouse technology in mature markets. Mini-load storage and retrieval for tote bins have been around since the 1980s. These are now upgraded through advancement of control systems to Automated Guided Vehicles that offers a safe and predictable method of delivery, while avoiding interference with human and building factors.
These “mature” technologies have expanded the envelope of their applications: Mini-load systems will now store a range of carton sizes, as well as uniform tote bins. Acceleration and speeds of equipment have been enhanced with the improvement of control technology while lowering the break point for economic justification of technology. Present AGVs that are laser guided, eliminates the need for wires to be sunk in the floor. Proximity sensing system vision are added to allow AGVs to roam freely during applications/operations such as vehicle loading.