Is Your Warehouse Ready For AMRs? The Answer Is Yes.

The benefits of installing Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) in warehouses are becoming more obvious every day. Its made many in the logistics industry consider if their facilities are indeed ready for AMRs. For example, pickers in fulfillment centers are picking more items per hour by allowing AMRs to take over the time-consuming task of delivering completed orders to their next destination. Productivity goes up and employees are happy to let robots perform the long-distance sprints.  But isn’t it difficult and time-consuming to install autonomous systems? The good news is that it has gotten much easier.

The Realities of AMR Implementation

Investing in warehouse robotics is a significant task for any business. Deciding how to get started with a fleet of material handling robots is one of many nuanced questions about AMRs.  One thing you don’t have to worry about, though, is whether or not your warehouse is ready for AMRs right now — because it is. Installing new autonomous hardware and software certainly sounds like a major commitment, but with the newest generation of AMRs, it’s much faster and simpler than ever before.

One thing you don’t have to worry about is whether or not your warehouse is ready for AMRs right now — because it is.

In the past, installing automated material transport units, often called Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), was time-consuming and expensive. Besides the hardware and software necessary to manage the AGVs themselves, it was also necessary to spend months making changes to your infrastructure in order to meet the operational requirements of the AGV system provider. That additional time and money made for a long and stressful transition.  If the robots didn’t work out, it meant even more time and money wasted to get everything back to normal.

The Benefits of Latest Generation AMRs

The latest generation of AMRs are much more advanced than older AGVs.  One of the most surprising benefits of warehouse robotics technology is how easy they are to integrate into almost any facility. For example, AMRs use a map to dynamically navigate and avoid obstacles, meaning you don’t need to set-up dedicated paths, install anything in the floor, or restrict humans and forklifts from operating in areas of the warehouse where robots are in use. You’ll need to make a map of your warehouse for the AMRs to follow, but that’s a process that can be performed by a single person in just a day or two, even in very large warehouses with hundreds of thousands of square meters of floor space.

HMIShelf warehouse robots from Fetch Robotics feature simple-to-use integrated touchscreens that require almost no training to operate.
HMIShelf warehouse robots from Fetch Robotics feature simple-to-use integrated touchscreens that require almost no training to operate.

Modern AMR software runs in a secure cloud, making it robust and easily accessible through a web-based interface from anywhere in the world.  It’s not necessary to install new computer hardware or software in your warehouse, and there’s no need to get your IT folks heavily involved with the setup.

Ideally, your warehouse has good Wi-Fi coverage, but if it doesn’t, AMRs can also use cellular modems to connect to the internet on their own.  Otherwise, the only thing AMRs need is floor space for charging docks, but even that’s a very simple install.  The docks are generally low profile, inherently safe, and can be plugged into a traditional wall outlet.  Since recharging is also autonomous, maintenance of the robots is minimal, and most of the time, AMRs run without needing any particular attention from you or your employees.

Modern AMR software runs in a secure cloud…and there’s no need to get your IT folks heavily involved with the setup.

Once the map is complete, the docks are plugged in, and you’ve decided where you want your new AMRs to go, that’s it. Setup is essentially finished.  For most warehouses, it takes less than a week from the time that the first robot arrives at your warehouse to having the system completely up-and-running.  The minimal impact AMRs have on your warehouse infrastructure makes them even more cost-effective as the size of your warehouse increases. Lightweight AMR systems are easy to scale up, and the larger your warehouse, the more benefits you’ll see from efficient robotic material handling.