Modula & Robot

22/11/2021

A fully automated storage system for e-commerce

While demand is growing in some sectors, the availability of suitable personnel is decreasing: this is one of the consequences of the pandemic and the new economic scenario that has been taking shape in recent months.

The trends show growing e-commerce and e-grocery turnover as a result of radically altered buying and consumption habits. This new paradigm makes an online shopping option a must for every retailer.

What are the consequences? A multitude of orders, even small ones, peaks of demand and other criticalities. It becomes necessary to be able to fulfill orders quickly, non-stop, and without errors.

The situation is very complex and would require an increase in the workforce, workers who never get sick, always show up on time, never need to rest, and are happy to work 24/7. Basically, a robot!

The new collaboration between Modula (automated storage systems), Yaskawa (robot manufacturer) and KC Robotics (robot integrator) was presented at EASTEC, in the United States, from 19 to 21 October: an automatic vertical storage system which interacts with a robot that autonomously conducts picking.

Using a robot in production is no longer a novelty. They have been used for years in assembly lines in the automotive sector and to manage thermal processes such as spot welding.

In a warehouse, a robot can perform activities that would normally be carried out by humans, for example picking items from the trays of a vertical storage system and placing them on a conveyor for further processing. Robots also relieve workers of low added value tasks, allowing them to focus on other more complex activities.

Eastec Modula & Robot

A quick return on investment (ROI) thanks to a fully automated storage system

As stated by David Lind, Business Development Director at Modula Inc., “Space is a highly valuable asset today and companies are always looking for ways to effectively exploit their warehouse resources. Simply put, they need to get more out of less. That's why they turn to Modula to manage their inventory with a smaller footprint. A robot further facilitates the picking and placing activities in a Modula storage system when manpower is scarce.”

On average, Modula automatic systems produce a ROI after just 6 to 12 months.

Robots can replace the lacking manpower and get the job done 24/7. Moreover, vertical storage systems significantly reduce the pressure on the workforce by creating a safer and less physically demanding environment. In some applications, robots can further extend the benefits of automation by taking on repetitive and simple tasks. Items that are too heavy for a human can be picked and handled by a robot without any problems: Yaskawa's arms, for example, can lift up to 900 kg.

Modula & Robots for e-commerce

All experts agree that there are many industrial sectors and applications where VLM and robotics can work well together. For example, in e-commerce the vertical storage system & robot combination enables a retailer or an e-commerce operator to quickly fulfill orders with a wide range of SKUs from one location, even without human intervention. In pharmaceutical warehouses, contamination risks can be prevented by using robots. Likewise, high-value items such as watches and jewelry can be handled by robots, which ensures greater security.

The list of applications grows as companies realize the significant benefits of such fully automated solutions. Here are a few examples:

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