Automation with Mobile Robots in Logistics - How to Find the Right Use Case
Mobile robots are used in many areas of Logistics 4.0. In intralogistics, mobile robots efficiently and autonomously move goods from A to B, pick products according to an order and thus relieve employees of repetitive and physically demanding tasks. At the beginning of their Robot Automation Journey, logistics and production companies ask themselves which operational process they can automate with mobile robots. In this article, you will learn how to determine your optimal use case for the first proof of concept (PoC), an initial pre-test with mobile robots on site.
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What are common use cases?
First, you should get an overview of which use cases can be automated with mobile robots. To save yourself a lot of time for your own research, you can use existing tools. The independent comparison platform for mobile robots in logistics and production LotsOfBots provides an overview of the most common use cases and suitable robot solutions. The most common use cases include picking, cleaning, pallet transport, and cost and box transport.
Determining the right use case
The choice of the optimal use case depends on which goals are being pursued. Since the use case can be both an important catalyst and a significant roadblock to a successful PoC, the requirements for the use case should be clearly defined. Define in advance what goals you want to achieve with automation. For example, do you want to shorten the time for material transport due to the high transport speed of mobile robots or do you want to make the material flow safer to avoid transport damage? After that and with the knowledge gained from the market research, you can start looking for the optimal use case. Also, involve your employees and ask what expectations the individual stakeholders have of the final use case.
When identifying the use case for your automation with mobile robots, you should consider the following criteria:
- The use case should be feasible and relevant to your operations so that all necessary insights can be gained
- The use case should have the throughput to test all parameters solidly
- The use case should not be business-critical, so as not to lose the invested money and the trust of the stakeholders in case of problems
It may not be possible to meet all criteria to the same extent. Find a solid balance of factors for your first PoC. Repetitive tasks, such as cleaning and disinfecting floor surfaces, are recommended. A cleaning and disinfection robot can do its job alongside business-critical logistics processes, making it a good option.
Use the following checklist to identify your use case:
✅ Go through the warehouse and create a long list of possible use cases
✅ Create the shortlist of use cases based on your criteria (for instance)
In a nutshell
Choosing the right use case is relevant to the success of the automation project with mobile robots. Accordingly, the determination requires a tactical approach by considering critical criteria to achieve your automation goals. Repetitive, non-business critical tasks are more suitable for the first proof of concept with mobile robots. For example, cleaning and disinfection can be considered. If you are unsure, do not hesitate to contact external consultants who will support you in choosing the optimal use case. The robot experts of WAKU Robotics are also available to assist you along the whole Robot Automation Journey.
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. You can also use the checklists, posters, and other material to be optimally prepared for all the important steps of 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