Learn about the energy-saving benefits of automation, its collaboration with human workers, and its role in sustainable business practices.
Warehouse tasks are inherently physically demanding. With activities like heavy lifting, repetitive motions, extended work hours, and a high-stress setting, warehousing imposes both physical and mental challenges. To mitigate the physical demands of warehousing, automation stands out as a straightforward and highly effective solution. In recent years, technological advancements have made various forms of automation available to managers. Despite this, more than 80% of warehouses today remain without any form of automation.
As most global warehouses continue to heavily rely on manual picking, sorting, and storage, a substantial amount of electricity is consumed in maintaining the facility and its storage and retrieval operations. This is a key factor explaining why supply chains significantly contribute to global carbon emissions, especially when combined with the transportation of goods.
Manual warehousing is not only expensive for companies but also hampers employee development, enables human errors, and, most importantly, has a negative impact on the environment.
In addition to upskilling workers and enhancing their quality of life, warehouse automation substantially diminishes the business's electricity consumption. This shift will contribute to a more environmentally friendly warehouse. Notably, warehouses in the apparel and grocery industries have been pioneers in adopting warehouse automation, resulting in enhanced business operations, improved emission rates, and a reduced environmental footprint.
There has long been a perception that automation requires power-hungry machinery, which goes against the idea of adopting eco-friendly practices. This is not the case with AutoStore. In fact, ten Robots of the AutoStore system use approximately the same amount of energy as a single vacuum cleaner operating for the same amount of time. These robots not only recharge themselves at the right time to avoid excessive charging, but also has regenerative energy functions to recharge their batteries whenever they lower a bin or reduce speed. All in all, they only consume 100 Watts of energy.
These little robots work as part of the AutoStore Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) solution, derived from stacking storage Bins one on top of the other in a super-tight storage configuration - the Grid. In this system, robots travel on top of the Grid to retrieve storage Bins and deliver them to workers manning the system’s workstation.
Instead of replacing workers, this form of automation promotes collaboration between man and machine - all in a sustainable and scalable package. But automation goes beyond providing better working conditions for employees. It has a wider societal purpose by allowing companies to use this as part of their sustainability and environmental goals strategies. AutoStore is a firm believer in this, which is evident in the company being awarded the Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s Green Supply Chain Award in 2021, which recognizes companies that prioritize sustainability as a core part of their supply chain strategy.
One of the reasons Elektroimportøren chose AutoStore was the minimal electricity requirement.
As various governments across the world become stricter with policies involving carbon emissions, automation can be used as a win-win for both improving businesses as well as meeting the expectations set by the government. The Singapore government, for example, aims to achieve net zero by 2050. They are also accelerating the low-carbon transition for the industry, economy, and society through the four key thrusts of catalyzing business transformation, investing in low-carbon technologies, pursuing effective international cooperation, and adopting low-carbon practices. The adoption of automation can aid with these goals, as well as improve the output of warehouses.
Illustrating the impact of warehouse automation, Hayabusa's Japanese installed a total of 23,000 bins and 76 Robots from AutoStore, which translated to a 165% sales increase and double the warehouse’s original capacity. Moreover, the increased workspace enabled effective social distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic while also contributing to lowered energy consumption and reduced carbon emissions.
In the end, businesses bear the responsibility of providing best-in-class service while also acting in the best interest of the environment. Automation brings substantial enhancements to stock processing and distribution efficiency, enabling efficient customer service. Let’s work together to not only help your bottom line, but more importantly — our environment.
Ten robots of the AutoStore system use approximately the same amount of energy as a vacuum cleaner.
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