Small Industrial Robots: Understanding Trends that Industrial Automation Retailers Should Know

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The continued adoption and exhibition of Omni-channel distribution frameworks has triggered new operational challenges. However, small industrial robot automation techniques and technologies can help overcome them. Read on to understand some of the industrial automation trends retailers should know. 

Flexibility via Decentralization

Motor drive decentralization is a trend that has gone through declines and movements in the past decade. In the past, decentralization was guided by the magnitude of computing power that a drive could accommodate. 

The more computing capacity a decentralized drive could hold, the more decentralized solutions were preferred over their cabinet fixed counterparts. Currently, there is a powerful decentralized architecture driver (the need for increased flexibility across systems) that has facilitated a staying power that was missing in the past. 

Decentralized and motor fixed drives promote increased flexibility across material handling systems. Seeing that the driver is fixed near the motor it regulates, repositioning conveyor systems to support reduced and increased demand becomes more feasible. Further, decentralized drives are suitable for supporting plug and play modules than cabinet fixed drives because they do not require extremely long cables. 

System Flexibility

One of the challenges that e-vendors experience is predicting demand. Many retailers experience difficulties when it comes to forecasting sales per week in advance. These difficulties bring about challenges when choosing the best way to fulfill (receive, package, and ship) e-Commerce orders. 

If an e-vendor picks an in-house fulfillment application with automation, the solution model will have to include the future capacity needs. Seeing that predicting future needs is difficult, many e-vendors end up under-utilizing the warehouse resource during the inaugural years of operation. Some opt to outsource the fulfillment application. 

To address under-utilization, some warehouse automation vendors today offer flexible solutions that consumers can scale up or down based on demand. For example, one company that specializes in the provision of material handling solutions has established a Modular Conveyor Platform. 

This system allows consumers to reconnect the conveyor network with the help of approved plug and play frameworks. This system may trigger changes in purchasing patterns because warehouse automation equipment vendors may buy products like rollers and drives in high volumes. 

Predictive Analytics

Today, many sectors are adopting predictive analysis at a rapid rate. One of the most suitable applications for predictive analytics is maintenance. Across the warehouse automation industry, some companies have been using predictive maintenance elements on their machines to support new business frameworks.

Universal Robots has a machine-as-a-service offering for its small industrial robot palletizers. Instead of charging the entire unit after purchasing, the offering charges the machine depending on its production. For such a framework, there is a need to reduce the machine’s downtime because revenue is directly connected to its productivity. Due to this, Universal Robots has adopted predictive analytics and machine-level sensors to establish potential machine failure.

Today, some warehouse automation vendors are offering advanced predictive analytics to monitor motor equipment over time with temperature and vibration sensors. These systems help prevent unexpected downtime. Production is a critical factor to consider for warehouse automation technology end-users. As a result, predictive analytics is fast becoming fundamental. 

If warehouses can prevent unexpected downtime during peak times, end-users will want to invest in the system. With the continued advancement in predictive analytics technology, warehouse automation retailers are likely to be the earliest adopters. 

Mobile Small Industrial Robots are Replacing Conveyors

Today, many sectors are adopting predictive analysis at a rapid rate. One of the most suitable applications for predictive analytics is maintenance. Across the warehouse automation industry, some companies have been using predictive maintenance elements on their machines to support new business frameworks. Universal Robots has a machine-as-a-service offering for its small industrial robot palletizers. Instead of charging the entire unit after purchasing, the offering charges the machine depending on its production. For such a framework, there is a need to reduce the machine’s downtime because revenue is directly connected to its productivity. Due to this, Universal Robots has adopted predictive analytics and machine-level sensors to establish potential machine failure. 

A decade ago, the number of conveyors installed across a warehouse was used as an intermediary for its automation level. Businesses would compete to have the most conveyors in their warehouses. However, the growing demand for reduced delivery times is forcing vendors to move their warehousing applications close to urban centers. Further, there has been an increased demand for space-efficient small industrial robot process automated solutions. 

Robot Adoption is on the Rise

Conveyor systems remain one of the most common technologies used to transport products from one area to the other. However, some companies are adopting the mobile small industrial robot as a means of transportation. Apart from offering increased flexibility, mobile industrial robots are a plug-and-play solution. They take up a smaller warehousing footprint compared to conventional conveyor systems. 

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