Deploying mobile robots for material movement might be simpler than you think.
Planning and deploying new technology for automation can sometimes seem intimidating. Today many operations across the supply chain from warehouses, fulfillment, and distribution are looking to modernize and optimize by adding Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR). Since mobile robots move around your facility among people, you may think that it requires extensive planning or infrastructure updates for deployment.
But while autonomous mobile robots can solve complex challenges, getting them up and running is likely easier than you imagine. Here is a common step-by-step process to deploy Zebra’s Fetch mobile robots:
1. Unbox robots and connect
The first step is to simply unbox your robots and connect them to your Wi-Fi network through the robotics software. If the software is cloud-based, it can easily connect with any network.
2. Create facility map using robotics software
To help robots navigate, you need to create a map on the software. Robots use this information to perform tasks and navigate their environment. At this step, you can even specify preferred robot travel paths and keep-out zones.
3. Set up tasks for the mobile robots
You can set up your workflows using drag-and-drop features on the software. Depending on your needs, you can put the robots to any task in your facility — from optimized picking to automated material handling.
4. Start working with mobile robots
Once the workflows are set up, you can start using these mobile robots. You can have multiple applications, and these can be updated as and when you want.
Unblock warehouse space
Mobile robots can also help in decluttering and unblocking your warehouse. Whether you are looking at your returns, packing, kitting, or shipping processes, there is a lot of material that clogs up your facility. Although there are workers who remove this trash, these roles have high turnover and remain expensive to fill in an already worker-strapped market. Heavy-load mobile robots can schedule pick up of bulk containers filled with packaging material and garbage without the need of a forklift or a manually moved cart.
Eliminate unnecessary walking
Introducing mobile robots in warehouses reduce walking time for workers and in turn allows them to focus on higher-level tasks that both increase warehouse productivity rates and improve efficiency. Automation of material handling for heavy loads also translates to workers spending less time tired and sore as back and knee injuries are very common due to repetitive lifting and the hours of walking involved.
Reasons why mobile robots can be easy to deploy
1. You don’t need to make any infrastructure changes
Legacy material handling equipment, like AGVs and conveyors, require fixed paths and infrastructure changes before they can be deployed. This can mean a significant upfront cost as well as a delay in deployment until the upgrade is complete. Mobile robots can be up and running without any infrastructure changes.
2. You aren’t required to involve your IT team
You can deploy entire AMR fleets with cloud-based robotics software, so there’s no requirement for complex programming. You can even add or remove robots easily as your needs change with time.
3. You won’t need to interrupt operations for deployment
AMRs can be deployed within hours, unlike other automation solutions. Since conveyors or AGVs require infrastructure and IT updates before deployment, a portion of your facility may have to be shut down pre-deployment. With AMRs, you don’t have to make any changes to your facility.
Autonomous mobile robots can be set up in just hours and the process is much simpler than you think. If you want to learn about how everything works together, you can read more about the set-up process here.