ChannelLife Australia logo
Industry insider news for Australia's technology resellers
Story image

Robotics automation: Current thoughts, expected trends, and meeting consumer demands

By Contributor
Wed 27 Apr 2022

Article by Dematic.

As companies seek to not only survive, but thrive in these disruptive times, many are looking to automated systems for their labour-strapped warehouses and distribution centres.

Robotics has always been a showpiece for automation systems — watching a robot automatically pick up products, pivot swiftly, and place them neatly together, ready for dispatch over and over can be fascinating. But there is certainly more to their capabilities than that.

Robotics in automation offer tangible benefits in the supply chain – but what are the expected trends for the future, and what do they mean for companies looking to introduce robotics into operations to meet consumer demand?

What benefits robotics can provide today

For many companies (if not most), automation has long been a key part of their business strategies. If anything, the pandemic has accelerated a business case for full-enterprise automation solutions. Consequently, robotics-based solutions are being thought of less as future-need but rather as something that needs to be implemented now.

Robotics is a subset of automation – though not all automation is robotically designed. Robotics is not a requirement for integrated automation solutions but can provide real value for many applications. For example, robotic technology has matured from decades of manufacturing automation into a viable tool for order fulfilment.

Robotic storage

Robotic storage solutions provide high-rate handling of cartons or bins that provide precise sequencing in smaller spaces and with greater operational flexibility than traditional warehouse storage in racking or shelving.

These robots move inside or above compact product storage, retrieving products rapidly and in a specific order, making these systems powerful engines for warehouse fulfilment operations.

Whether feeding products to order fulfilment stations, automated pallet building systems, automated replenishment, or straight to despatch as order buffers, these automated systems are a sure-fire way to streamline operations.

Robotic palletisation

Robotic systems now operate across warehouses and distribution centres worldwide with 24/7 operationality and extremely high accuracy. Automation systems featuring robotic palletisation present a more practical application for current technology, including in mixed case palletising applications.

Recently, Dematic worked with ODW Logistics, a third-party logistics company, to implement a mixed case robotic palletising system that automatically fulfils online orders for beverage cartons.

When an order is received, software sequences the cartons to release in carton sizes from largest to smallest, allowing the robot to optimally build pallets with up to three cartons at a time.

The smart software in a robotic mixed case palletising system allows for pallets to be planned and built for optimised high-density, match store layouts for more efficient shelf replenishment, and account for crushability and any product mixing restrictions.

Robotic transportation

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are robotic forklifts used in various industries to transport and store products and materials. Equally, at home in factories, warehouses, and distribution centres, transportation robots are a safe and secure way to increase process efficiency and improve business profitability – all without human intervention.

AGVs can automatically lift and move goods, carry loads to and from racking, store, and retrieve in block-stack or deep-stack lanes, transport loads over long distances, and transfer loads to and from conveyors workstations or even other robotic systems. 

Where robotics is heading in the future

When discussing robotics, the question is often asked – “Will a completely automatic, no human intervention, lights-out facility ever be possible?”. The short answer is no, not 100%. People will always be needed to manage and maintain the facility. However, as far as daily operations go, it is a possibility.

As technologies continue to develop and improve, we can expect more complex operations that accommodate larger variations in SKU size, shape, weight, and number.

What is clear is that robotics isn’t about replacing workers, it’s about creating opportunities. Many developed countries are facing near and long-term labour shortages. In many cases, robotics can help fill that need, allowing companies to continue to meet customer demand.

People and robotics

Rather than taking away jobs, robotic automation creates roles for workers in operation support and maintenance — higher-paying and more rewarding jobs that can help companies attract and retain valued employees.

The future for robotics isn’t binary (as in, either people or robotics) but a shared “cohabitation” ecosystem, where humans and robots interact in a shared space.

Automated systems can work alongside a human workforce while also enhancing health and safety protocols for workers in the warehouse. Thanks to their accuracy and safety features, warehouse robotics create a safer working environment, with no accidental collisions and zero damage to products. 

But as we move into the future with robotic applications, advancements in productivity and safety will depend on software, specifically developments in Machine Learning (ML) and AI.

ML will allow robotic systems to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions by instead using algorithms and statistical models to analyse and draw inferences from patterns in data. AI will empower robotic systems to improve by continuously fine-tuning operational processes.

Implement and adapt for the future

While robotics may be fascinating to watch, how well do they meet a company’s need to manage its space, drive growth, gain efficiency, and empower its people? The real value of any automation solution (including those with robotics) comes from how well it is implemented and maintained as part of a company’s entire supply chain ecosystem.

Careful planning is needed — from design and implementation to operation and eventual upgrades, but for those companies that invest wisely, not only can robotics, software, and automation be a solution to current challenges, but they can also help companies adapt quickly to the future.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Hawaiki Cable
BW Digital completes acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable
BW Digital has completed its full acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable, with all applicable regulatory filings and approvals now received.
Story image
Adyen
Adyen expands partnership with Afterpay as BNPL payments increase
Adyen has expanded its partnership with AfterPay allowing more of Adyen’s merchants in more countries worldwide to use the BNPL provider.
Story image
SaaS
Atturra partners with Focus HQ to support Aus organisations
Atturra has executed a partnership agreement with Focus HQ, to resell and support the company's Australian developed SaaS-based portfolio management platform.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
Malware
Sharp increase in phishing as cybercriminals leverage SEO to lure victims
"Malware lurking everywhere, from cloud apps to search engines, leaving organisations at greater risk than ever before."
Story image
Malware
Use of malware, botnets and exploits expands in Q1 2022
"As zero-day attacks and other vulnerabilities among companies like Google and Microsoft come to light, threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics."
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Manufacturing
$1 million in cyber skills to stop $100 million in cybercrime
"It is important that the next generation across all industries, including manufacturing, are skilled in cybersecurity."
Story image
Fortinet
Fortinet sees 34% revenue increase in latest financial results
Fortinet has released its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, seeing a total revenue increase of 34.4% compared to the same quarter last year.
Story image
Open banking
A look at the rewards and risks of open banking - report
RiskBusiness says its report on open banking finds that while it holds much potential, financial services firms need to ensure they have robust, risk processes.
Story image
Wasabi Technologies
Wasabi opens new cloud storage in Australia with Equinix
Wasabi Technologies has opened a new hot cloud storage region in Sydney, Australia, using Equinix services. This is the company's 12th global storage region.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ANU and Seeing Machines to use AI to improve driver safety
The Australian National University and Seeing Machines have won a grant to develop AI systems monitor human behaviour while driving.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SecureCo and IBM partner to deliver Intelligent Voice Platform
The partnership addresses the growing number of businesses seeking to digitally transform, by enabling operational optimisation and adaptive CX.
Story image
Corsair
Hands-on review: Corsair 32GB Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM kit
Corsair’s Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM offers PC users an entry-level upgrade to the new memory standard allowing them to get a little bit more out of their new Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Logistics
TeamViewer and SAP combine AR and warehouse operations
TeamViewer combines its AR platform, Frontline, with SAP's Extended Warehouse Management solution, to make warehouse and logistics operations more efficient.
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
Manufacturing
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Red Hat
Red Hat expands capabilities to provide streamlined application development in cloud
"Application development is undergoing significant change and developers need tools to support this transformation."
Story image
Fastly
Fastly named 2022 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice
Fastly has announced it has been named a Customers' Choice in the 2022 Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer": Global CDN.
Story image
D-Link
D-Link launches new G415 Smart Router as part of EAGLE PRO AI range
D-Link A/NZ has announced the launch of its new G415 AX1500 4G Smart Router as part of the new EAGLE PRO AI Series.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Tech Data
Tech Data to use Pluribus Networks’ cloud solutions in APAC
Tech Data says using Pluribus Networks' Unified Cloud Fabric solution will be a "game-changer" for its data center infrastructure customers and partners.
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
Nokia
Nokia and Optus reaches new 5G levels using Samsung
Nokia and Optus have achieved the world’s first 3CC Carrier Aggregation 5G SA data call using a commercial Samsung headset in Australia.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Hewlett Packard Enterprise hosts Channel Reignite sessions
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) hosted its HPE Channel Reignite sessions in Sydney and Melbourne last month to reconnect with the channel partner community.
Story image
Appian
Appian awarded billions in damages against Pegasystems Inc.
Appian has been awarded USD$2.036 billion in damages against Pegasystems Inc as the result of a jury verdict in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia.
Story image
Microsoft
Avaya expands Microsoft partnership to deliver OneCloud on Azure
The joint technology and go to market agreement will help customers accelerate their digital transformation initiatives in the cloud.
Story image
Cybersecurity
HackerOne launches Attack Resistance Management solution
HackerOne has launched Attack Resistance Management - a new category of security solution that targets the root causes of the attack resistance gap. 
Story image
Ransomware
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Story image
Poly
Poly introduces new smart devices and announces Amazon e-store in Australia
Poly is introducing two new pro-grade devices to the market and announcing its first official Australian e-store on Amazon.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Red Hat and Accenture expand alliance for hybrid cloud
Red Hat and Accenture have announced the expansion of their partnership, collaborating on new offerings to assist businesses in their cloud continuum operations.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Google to enter the smartwatch market with the Google Pixel Watch
Google has provided a first look at its new Google Pixel Watch, which is set to make an entry into the competitive smartwatch market.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Data
Aussie data & analytic execs not confident in data strategy
Less than half of Australian data and analytics leaders are confident in their data strategy as siloes and lack of culture prevent innovation.
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
Why SolarWinds Partners will have big wins in 2022
We summarise the key recent changes that the monitoring software vendor has made to accelerate its channel business.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.