A cost-effective solution to scale up your warehouse and logistics efficiency
Supply chains face an unpredictable and challenging future. There is an urgent need to achieve better results, productivity, and ROI, adding pressure to companies already performing at breakneck speed.
New market trends and seasonal spikes are not the concerns they once were, in an environment of constantly high demand cycles.
But today’s challenges are not just a consequence of larger order volumes. Warehouses now have to process single orders in a greater variety of shapes, formats and sizes.
To meet these demands, warehouses and logistics centers must radically change their operations and working methods, adopting both new strategies and new technologies.
When outdated spaces meet high-performance requirements
Increasing performance in older warehouse buildings represents a massive challenge. But this is just one of the many problems facing small and mid-size operations. With access to fewer financial and technological resources, it can be harder to scale and adapt to new market trends quickly.
Some of these warehouses were built decades ago and have restrictive layouts and insufficient capacity for new systems and innovative configurations.
Due to the cost and the time delays involved, switching operations to a new site is not an option for most companies. Adding space to a current facility can be a simpler and cheaper alternative; however, this can be limited by restrictive warehouse layouts, lack of investment and local regulations.
Can more operators be the solution for supply chains?
As we have seen, many warehouses and logistics centers lack the necessary capacity to adopt automation systems at scale. To meet increasing market demand, these operations have to rely on manual labor instead. This calls for more skilled workers, which poses an equally complex challenge.
With the high availability of well-paid jobs, the prospect of working long hours in non-ergonomic spaces, operating heavy machinery, or working in harsh environments such as cold storage, is less appealing. This makes it tougher to attract and retain skilled talent.
Such factors have a profound impact on fragile supply chains by adding complexity, slowing operations, and negatively impacting revenue.
New challenges demand innovative solutions
To solve these challenges, we developed an innovative picking and transportation system, connecting two of the most useful and popular solutions in our automation portfolio.
Our new Layer Picker AMR solution combines Layer Picker Mono Gantries and AMRs into one reliable and efficient holistic system, requiring little supervision once installed. Not only is it affordable and easy to deploy, but thanks to its modular nature, it fits any warehouse.
Before exploring the full potential of the Layer Picker AMR, it’s important to review how Layer Pickers and AMRs are used:
The Layer Picker Gantry
The Layer Picker Gantry is widely adopted by food retailers, FMCG warehouses and 3PL operations to eliminate manual picking and minimize labor costs. Our Layer Pickers can pick up to 98% of all product types in food retail by using vacuum and clamping techniques. This improves picking accuracy and minimizes product damage – both essential for industries demanding maximum efficiency and reliability.
The Mono Gantry is the smaller and more compact version of the LP Gantry. This space-efficient alternative is ideal for operations with low to medium SKU volumes. Commonly used for pallet-to-pallet handling, it can pick multiple source pallets simultaneously to create an order pallet.
This entry-level system is a low-complexity, small-footprint solution, with the flexibility to easily expand with mobile robots, floor buffers, and automatic infeeds and outfeeds.
Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
AMRs are a specialized solution designed to move goods and pallets quickly and safely. They can be implemented in any warehouse, making them an extremely flexible and affordable alternative to lengthy and costly retrofit projects.
Autonomous Mobile Robots deliver high transportation performance by executing multiple moving tasks, from intricate picking fulfillments to complex pallet movements. This means they can support both seasonal fluctuations and long-term growth projects – robots can simply be added or removed to meet current demand.
The solution: Introducing the Layer Picker AMR
The Layer Picker AMR is an innovative solution combining the control and versatility of a Layer Picker with the transportation speed and efficiency of an AMR. Although integrated, these systems maintain their compact and modular characteristics. This means they can easily be deployed in any warehouse and connected with any system, making them extremely brownfield friendly.
Key benefits of Layer Picker AMR:
• Reduced investment cost
• LP Mono Gantry: up to 10 pallet positions and 200 picking programs
• AMR: up to 1000 kg payload and 2 m per second
• Performance improvement by up to 25%
• Easy to scale
• Quick and simple integration with other systems
One of the main advantages of the Layer Picker AMR is that it maximizes picking and flexibility by transporting a wide variety of products in a shorter period. It guarantees reliable order picking while meeting the modern warehouse’s need for higher throughputs.
When compared with conventional Layer Picker systems, the Layer Picker AMR provides higher overall performance – up to 25% more efficient. In a scenario where a conventional Layer Picker System takes 24 hours to complete a given task, the Layer Picker AMR takes only 18 hours.
A step-by-step journey through the Layer Picker AMR
To move AMRs with source pallets from point A to point B to create order pallets is a relatively simple task. But making sure that all pallets arrive and are picked sequentially, and then leave from the right place on time, is a complex one that only an integrated system like the Layer Picker AMR can perform.
1. The source pallet (a pallet that contains only one product type) arrives at a station ready for processing
2. The Warehouse Control System (WCS) tells the AMRs to pick the source pallet and transport it from its location to the designated Layer Picker Cell
3. Once it is in place, the Layer Picker Mono Gantry initiates the process by picking layers from the source pallet – and multiple other pallets – to create a new order pallet
4. As soon as the order pallet is complete, the AMR receives instructions to transport it to the next station – this is usually an outfeed, but can also be a wrapping or labeling station
5. At the outfeed, the pallet is received by either a forklift or an automated outfeed conveyor – AMRs can also be used at this stage
The right solution for small and mid-size operations
The affordable nature of the Layer Picker AMR makes it a natural fit for small and mid-size picking operations. Its modular system means it can be customized to meet each individual warehouse’s requirements, simply by adding AMRs, descramblers (to dismantle layers into single cases), box turners (to orient cases), and tray loaders (to load cases onto trays).
It is also easy to install and integrate with other systems. Once the Layer Picker AMR is installed, it requires little to no infrastructural modifications in the warehouse, making it a perfect solution for operations with limited available space.