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What are the Various Types of Warehouse Robots?

Linda James, Logistics Tech Outlook | Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Warehouses ranging from almost every industry employ warehouse robots, although warehouses in some industries depend more on robotics than other industries. Overall, growth in warehouse robotics adoption is driven by the growing e-commerce industry, the need for improved performance and durability in warehouse operations, active venture capital funding for start-up robotics companies, and increased adoption of warehouse robotics by SMEs (SMEs).

FREMONT, CA: The warehouse robotics industry encompasses various warehouse robots that perform multiple tasks and functions such as order fulfillment and inventory movement throughout the warehouse. The following is a breakdown of the different types of warehouse robots.

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)

Automated storage and retrieval systems automate the inventory process by retrieving shipping or use goods and returning items to their proper storage locations. AS/RS solutions include cranes that retrieve goods between aisles and shuttles on a fixed tracking system.

Goods-to-Person (G2P) technology

Similar to AS/RS, G2P technology includes goods-to-person picking robots delivering items to picking stations where operators are stationed to fill orders on delivery.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

AGVs, such as self-driving forklifts, carry inventory from one warehouse location to another. AGVs rely on tracks or magnetic strips in planned travel tracks, sometimes coupled with sensors or camera vision technology to avoid obstacles.

Automated Guided Carts (AGCs)

AGCs and AGVs sometimes form the same category. The main difference is that AGCs carry lower loads.

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)

Autonomous mobile robots are similar to AGVs and AGCs, carrying inventory and materials autonomously throughout a warehouse. Unlike AGCs and AGVs that travel fixed tracks or magnetic strips, AMRs rely on maps and sensors to navigate more flexible routes by interpreting the environment. Autonomous inventory robots are independent mobile robots. Used with RFID-tagged equipment and items, autonomous inventory robots perform inventory counts at predetermined times or intervals. This category also includes collaborative mobile robots, increasing human work by guiding associates through tasks.

Articulated Robotic Arms

Robotic limbs with multiple joints and articulated robotic arms move and lift warehouse items. Typically, they are used for delivering functions, such as moving things from pallets to racks, in production environments, picking, packing, and shipping.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, provide real-time inventory visibility in warehouses when equipped with RFID technology.

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