In the past ten years, vendors like Universal Robots have changed how work is done in warehouses all over the world, thanks to collaborative robots. These are types of robots that are created with the ability to work alongside humans safely.
There are numerous benefits associated with using a small industrial robot, such as a UR10 collaborative robot for pick and place processes. Using collaborative robots can improve the productivity of any warehouse up to three times. Advanced sensor technology makes it possible for collaborative robots to be programmed to work in a warehouse efficiently. What’s more, it is very easy to program a collaborative robot. Therefore, any employee in the warehouse can easily program the cobot for tasks without the need for a programming background.
To determining which collaborative robot to use in your warehouse, there are certain factors you need to consider.
The infrastructure needed
If you already have an automation process in place, you need to go for a collaborative robot that does not require you to make significant changes around the warehouse. Because not all warehouses can afford the luxury of a complete warehouse overhaul, it is best to find a vendor who can offer a cobot that can be programmed to work in the existing conditions.
The capacity of the cobot
If you run an e-commerce warehouse, speed is an asset that ensures order fulfillment. Instead of investing in numerous small machines to speed up your processes, you can invest in one collaborative robot to do the same amount of work. You can go for a solution with the ability to move large shelves if your orders involve picking large quantities of different items.
Cobot WMSS integration
It is possible to install a collaborative robot system without changing your warehouse management system. Most vendors can configure their collaborative robots to ensure smooth integration to already existing warehouse systems. A full WMS integration will make it possible for you to optimize the collaborative robots for different tasks in your warehouse.
It is important to consider the width of your aisles when choosing a collaborative robot. If your site has very narrow aisles, you can configure the cobot to pick and place mobile shelves at the end of each aisle. After this, employees can move these shelves into the aisles. There are some robots with the ability to move through aisles, even in small work environments. You can also consider using a one-way workflow to ensure your collaborative robot can move comfortably through the zones.
The user interface
Most collaborative robots come with an integrated touchscreen display. This allows users to interact freely and easily with the programming software used in the collaborative robot. It is important to consider the type of user interface used in the robot before investing in it. The best robots come with easy to use interface, even for employees with no previous background in robotics or programming. Some vendors offer decoupled user interface like tablets or wrist computers. This can be a cost-effective way of using cobots in warehouses that already use scanning hardware.
The intelligence of the platform
It is essential to consider software platform features. This is the system that connects the WMS and the robot. You need to consider how the software can handle priority and exception orders, how it sorts batches and assigns tasks, and even whether it can help in optimizing slotting.
The best collaborative robot should be able to make your warehousing easier, and even track user performance and offer instant KPIs to employees.
You need to consider whether the collaborative robot can adapt to your current warehouse operations. The best vendor solution should support multiple use cases on different floors. You should be able to reconfigure the robot for different picking and placing tasks. The best cobots should have the ability to grow, scale, and adapt to changing warehouse environments.
With this list, you are sure to start on the right foot when choosing the best collaborative robot for pick and place processes in your warehouse.