Large warehouses and distribution centers have the challenge of moving pallets from one side of a build to another. This could be movement from inbound, long- or short-term storage, to an outbound or quality control area. Regardless of where the pallets are moving to and from, manual operators are required to travel long distances moving pallets and then potentially returning to the next movement empty handed.
With a robotic lift truck solution, a operation can keep manual operators in a smaller area making their movements and work more efficient allowing robots to take care of long horizontal movements between buildings or different storage areas. This is done by designing specified areas where manual operators can drop pallets and robotic trucks pick them and bring them to a predetermined area.
An example would be three connected buildings where each building has one robotic pick area and one robotic drop area. The pick area in Building 1 consists of six pallet positions, three assigned to Building 2 and three to Building 3. Any time an operator in Building 1 wants to send a pallet to Building 3 they would place the pallet in the designated pallet position and carry on with their work. The robot would see that pallet and bring it to the designated drop area in Building 3.
This all can be done autonomously through intelligent pallet detection without any operator assistance. WMS integration can be added if the customer requires.
The robotic system can be fully integrated into a WMS system. The integration process is nearly as involved as installing the physical trucks. ELT and their partners will work with the customer’s IT team to come up with a fully customizable solution to allow the tracking of multiple variables. Some of these variables include dynamic drop locations and the ability to track inventory by the robot software signaling the WMS when a pick and drop have been made from and to specific locations.
After integration, the WMS will be able to assign missions to the robot software and create a fully automated process for any material handling application. The software integration is considered a custom software package.
Push Button Configuration
In any installation, missions need to be triggered by some sort of event. Without WMS integration, sometimes those triggers include manual interface with the robot’s HMI or intelligent pallet detection. If those are not options, then ELT Systems Group can offer a manual button option where each button can be assigned a mission trigger. These triggers can be anything from signaling a robot to pick from a single position and drop at another or empty out staging areas or specific lanes.
Why automation provides an advantage.
Like many industrial settings, whether it’s Logistics, Warehousing or Manufacturing, the labor pool is always shrinking. With finding labor becoming an issue, robotic lift trucks offer a solution for any operation that requires simple repetitive movement that allow management to move existing labor to more skilled positions.
With the proper applications, a robotic material handling equipment can provide a fast Return on Investment by reducing an operations labor costs. There are other potential realizations of cost savings include: increased productivity from increased cycle efficiency and solving poor attendance as well as the damage reduction of products and equipment.
Why ELT Systems Group
Support Across North America
ELT Systems Group is part of Eastern Lift Truck Company that is staffed with hundreds of qualified service people. The Systems division is equipped with engineers along with their OEM partners to bring you 24/7 support and the ability to travel any where across North America to support your operation.
ELT Systems Group’s robotic solutions require no additional infrastructure to navigate in your facility. This means no reflectors, no magnets or wires in the ground. This technology allows the robots to navigate and drive within an existing facility without any other considerations outside of safety.
The robotic Tugger and Lifter solution is a standard truck that has been built to be autonomous. This means that it can be used in manual mode as well as autonomous mode. Any operator (if the client allows for it) can take control of the robotic lift truck for any purpose.
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If you are interested in automating your material handling application, make sure you reach out to ELT Systems Group and see how we can help.
Contact the systems group or Jason Dodge directly for further information and to get started on your project today.
Automation Manager | Systems Division
Eastern Lift Truck Co., Inc.
Cell: (609) 605-1043