Increased Use of Robots for Warehouse Automation and More

By Deborah L. O’Mara | Nov 29, 2022
Industrial robot arm. Image by Niran Kasri from Pixabay.
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Research and development in the use of robotics in warehouse and industrial settings is gaining momentum, fueling impressive growth in the market sector.

“Warehouse Robotics Market,” a June 2022 report from Future Market Insights (FMI), reveals that the global warehouse robotics market is projected to reach a value of more than $9.5 billion by 2032. In 2022, the market was on pace to exceed $5 billion, rising at a notable 13% compound annual growth rate throughout the forecast period. Robotics leverage digital technologies and computerization with artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning to automate a host of operations.

“The market is likely to be driven by the growing trend of industrialization and the implementation of Industry 4.0,” according to the report.

Robotics services

Warehouse robotics are used in a variety of automated systems to bring greater efficiencies to processes in fulfillment, inventory and distribution. Different types of robotics, according to 6 River Systems, include automated guided vehicles for material and supply transport; automated storage and retrieval systems for inventory management; cobots, or collaborative robotics used to assist human personnel in performing tasks in the warehouse; articulated robotic arms that move products within warehouses; and goods-to-person systems that transport items to stationary pick stations.

Warehouse robots are applicable to many markets, including food and beverage, automotive, pharmaceuticals, electronics, construction, defense and oil and gas. Companies are investing huge dollars in research and development activities in the warehouse robotics market, especially in developed countries, for product innovation, more advanced automation and pursuit of quality production and manufacturing.

According to FMI, Amazon installed almost 15,000 robots in its U.S. warehouses to cut operations costs by one-fifth and meet increasing consumer demand. It used technology developed by Kiva Systems, a robotics company it would later purchase and rename Amazon Robotics. In October 2021, Amazon announced the opening of a new first-of-its-kind robotics manufacturing facility in Westborough, Mass. Amazon also unveiled plans to purchase iRobot in August 2022.

Market drivers and restraints

Important market drivers for the warehouse robotics market, according to FMI, include increasing demand of automation for time savings and cost reductions, increasing number of stock-keeping units, increasing demand and awareness toward quality and safety production, advancement in technology and increased use in various applications and industries such as food and beverage and electronics.

Some of the barriers cited in the report as potentially hampering the growth of the warehouse robotics market are the initial high adoption cost related to training and deployment, lack of awareness and difficulty in interacting with robots for some end-users.

The digital transformation and Industry 4.0 continue to revolutionize the way companies manufacture, improve and distribute products. Manufacturers are integrating new technologies, including internet of things, cloud computing, analytics, A.I. and machine learning into their production facilities and throughout their operations. That value proposition now includes robotics, for specific tasks and lessening the overall cost burden on the end-user.

About The Author

O’MARA writes about security, life safety and systems integration and is managing director of DLO Communications. She can be reached at [email protected] or 773.414.3573.

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