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Logistics robots automate the process of storing and moving goods as they make their way through the supply chain. They’re often used in warehouses and storage facilities to organize and transport products, a process referred to as intralogistics, but they can be used in other settings too. Logistics robots offer far greater levels of uptime over manual labor, leading to major productivity gains and profitability for those deploying logistics robots.
Logistics robots experienced robust growth in 2017 with 69,000 units installed – a 162% increase over 2016, according to the International Federation of Robotics World Robotics 2018 Service Robots report. In 2018, it’s predicted that logistics robots will see another 66% increase in sales at a value of $3.9 billion. Between 2019 and 2021, it’s estimated that 485,000 units will be sold in total, rising at a rate of 18% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
The primary application of logistics robots is the use of mobile automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in warehouses and storage facilities to transport goods. These robots operate in predefined pathways, moving products for shipping and storage around the clock. AGVs play an important role in reducing the cost of logistics and streamlining the supply chain.
Other examples of logistics robots include robotic arms that sort items from bins or from assembly lines; AGVs for transporting goods outdoors such as in agriculture; and even mobile robots in retail that count shelf inventory in real-time and treat the store like a mini-warehouse. There are some forms of logistics robots that are used for delivery of medicine and lab specimens in the hospitals and laboratories.
While logistics robots may vary in their deployment, they’re typically mobile robots intended to automate the transport of goods. High levels of uptime are their greatest source of profitability, regardless of application. Companies are beginning to see the value of logistics robots, positioning the market for rapid growth.
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