“The typical cost of a simple warehouse robot is little more than the annual salary for a worker,” Elaine Porteous recently wrote regarding e-commerce. “Decreasing human error and improving efficiency are the main reasons for using robots. Robotic technology can automate the handling, scanning, and loading of items into polybags or self-sealing mailer bags and streamline the returns handling process.”
The rise of ecommerce
Ecommerce increased by 50% in 2021, rising to $870 billion over the course of the pandemic. People under lockdown, needing goods that were in short supply locally, or just avoiding human contact started ordering online instead of hitting the physical world stores. Groceries, previously the last holdout for ecommerce, are now bought online more than 14% of the time. Home goods are hardly bought in any other way any more.
Only clothing showed a slow down in online sales, and that may have been because so many people were hanging around in their pajamas all day.
Suddenly, gathering orders and sticking them into mailing envelopes became a skill in high demand.
That’s a great job for robots.
Robots were already becoming popular in warehousing, even before the pandemic. As automation has increased, warehouse work has become even more widely automated.
Why use robots? We usually think it’s to increase productivity and to protect human workers from jobs that are dirty, dangerous, and dull.
But in a warehouse, the work is susceptible to error. It’s also physically demanding and repetitive. Sometimes warehouse work has to be done in extreme temperatures, whether that’s a cold storage space or a sweltering loading dock.
Still, the owners of the company may focus on the possibility of making errors in picking and packing, or the chances of packing items inefficiently for shopping or mailing. Accuracy is highly prized in warehouse workers, and robots are naturally more consistent in their production than human beings are.
Whatever your reason for using robots, you need drive and control systems to keep them moving the way they should. Indramat produced some of the best motion control on the planet, and Indramat components are still in service in facilities across the nation. When you need service or support for your Indramat systems, we can help.
Call for immediate assistance.