4 Steps to the Right Mobile Robots for Your Warehouse
Mobile robots in logistics are used for various use cases. Among other things, they are used in picking, box transport, or workplace cleaning. Consequently, the optimal robot solution depends on the choice of the process to be automated. In this article, you will learn how to get from your selected use case to the optimal mobile robot solution.
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1. Step: Identify the right use case
The first step is to search for the right process for your automation project. An in-house intralogistics process that is important but not business-critical is recommended. In addition, it should have little complexity, e.g., the transport of a pallet from A to B. Nevertheless, it should be relevant enough to gain solid insights.
More information and a checklist for identifying the optimal use case can be found here.
2. Step: Solution Design
During solution design - the development of the solution concept for the automation project - a robotic solution that meets specific requirements and is commercially viable must be designed. Often, several solutions can be considered for one use case. For example, you can automate picking processes with a goods-to-person system or with a collaborative robots-to-goods system. However, the optimal solution depends on your specific needs and circumstances. This includes the environment of the mobile robot. For example, you need to consider whether the robot is equipped for a freezer environment, a cleanroom, or an outdoor environment. To do this, visit the facility and area where the mobile robot will be used.
Furthermore, it is important to consider the requirements of the robot. An important consideration here is the type of mobile robot. Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) can navigate autonomously and are flexible in their route finding. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are bound to previously defined routes and need a certain degree of guidance in navigation. For navigation and orientation within the environment, some robots need reflectors. Therefore, you should clarify in advance with the robot manufacturer or integrator whether there are certain requirements for the infrastructure and the system.
Once the technically feasible solution has been identified, you need to calculate the size of your robot system. Use the support of the robot manufacturer or external experts for this. WAKU Robotics will provide you with data sheets for each type of system, which you can use to obtain the data by contacting robot suppliers and experts.
3. Step: Identify potential robot solutions
First, it is helpful to know what sources are available for researching mobile robots. One good place to find out more about mobile robot solutions is LotsOfBots - the largest independent comparison platform for mobile robots in logistics and production. You can use the Robot Finder for mobile robots to compare mobile robots for your use case. The criteria you defined in advance in the Solution Design, e.g. dimensions and the operating environment, can be taken into account here. You receive an overview of potential robot manufacturers. Contact relevant manufacturers for more information. Also, ask the manufacturers here what opportunities they offer for robot integration. Many manufacturers offer the opportunity to pre-test the selected robotic solution on-site in a proof of concept (PoC). If you don't want to personally take care of the communication with the manufacturer, WAKU Robotics can do this for you.
4. Step: Rent or buy
Basically, robot manufacturers offer two ways you can acquire your mobile robot: rent or buy. The rental model is also called Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS), which allows you to lease the device flexibly and reduces capital expenditure (reduction of CAPEX). Maintenance costs are low here. If the manufacturer does not offer a renting model, evaluate the possibility to rent the device through integrators. On the other hand, you can purchase the robot as property. This is especially useful if the robot will be operated in the same configuration for some time and flexibility is not required. Check with the robot manufacturer to see which variants they offer. Once you have decided on one, you can prepare for PoC with the mobile robot.
Selecting the use case to automate and identifying the optimal robot solution for this use case can be challenging without external help. WAKU Robotics accompanies you along your Robot Automation Journey and supports you in your optimal start with mobile robots.
More information about PoC with mobile robots can be found in the Robot Operations Framework. Download the manual for free and start your Robot Automation Journey.
Feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
WAKU Robotics supports you in choosing the right robot for your application. We take care of the procurement of the robots as well as the on-site test. Our WAKU Sense software helps you to operate the robots across manufacturers and to analyze the processes.Contact WAKU