Will Robots Run Your Warehouse Floor?

August 17, 2010

1 Min Read
Will Robots Run Your Warehouse Floor?

Upon first glance, the image of swarms of robots humming around a warehouse performing various duties could be a bit intimidating. But the fleets of mobile robots represent a helpful, not hostile, takeover aimed at improving productivity and cutting costs for manufacturers, according to their inventor, Kiva Systems (Woburn, MA).

Optimized for material handling, the autonomous mobile robots perform such tasks as sorting, storing, and distribution of inventory. "The approach is a fundamental shift of the state-of-the-art: It at once reduces shipping times and labor costs, ensures higher levels of accuracy, and mitigates the capital expenditure and inflexibility associated with large, monolithic systems that have been the industry standard to date," according to the company.

Equipped with cameras, the robots are able to navigate the space by reading a series of bar codes on the warehouse floor. A central computer keeps track of each individual robot.

Although the fleets of robots got their start in warehouses for Crate and Barrel and Walgreens, for example, they are also suited for use in medical device manufacturing. In fact, Kiva Systems names Boston Scientific as an early adopter of the technology.

Watch the robots in action in the below IEEE video. Let us know what you think in the comments section: Do these robots represent the future of warehouse and distribution operations?

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