Autonomous robots are the latest “better mousetrap” in the pick and fulfillment industry. The robots do all the travelling through the distribution centers, so the workers don’t have to. This saves a lot of wear and tear on human bodies. Each brand of robot is somewhat unique – different size, different ways to attach to picking carts. This is where New Age Industrial becomes extremely important because of our ability to extrude and fabricate in-house, therefore adapt products to fit almost any robot.
Autonomous robots have capacity limitations and can only push or pull so much weight. The weight of the cart is included in that number, so the lighter the cart, the more product you can put on each trip. This increases overall productivity, which is an advantage for aluminum over steel. Aluminum is 30-40% lighter than steel.
There are 4 primary types of carts: steel, aluminum, plastic, and wire shelving. Steel and aluminum can easily be customized; however, New Age has a distinct advantage because we have our own press and dies and we can do everything, start-to-finish, in-house. No one else can do that.
Plastic carts aren’t adaptable in the robotics market without being extremely costly and difficult and wire shelving isn’t very rigid. Wire shelving is also sold in pieces and must be assembled on-site. It is often susceptible to coming loose during usage. New Age Industrial aluminum is fully welded so when it is delivered to the customer’s site, it’s ready to go. It’s also tough enough to handle tugging from the robot as well as everyday use and abuse.
Using robotics for pick and fulfillment allow for better ergonomics and less steps by the person doing the picking. The picker can stay in one zone and then the robots move from zone to zone for items to be added to the order. For example, you are the picker in zone 1, you stay there and the robots with carts attached come to you instead of you walking from zone to zone. It saves a ton of steps, which ultimately reduces fatigue and repetitive motions for ergonomic safety.