Cobots are on the move

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Mobile cobots are gaining popularity in industrial settings. They offer a great mix of flexibility, safety, and efficiency, designed to work alongside humans and boost productivity. KUKA explains what sets them apart from your typical, static robot and how they are revolutionising efficiency and productivity in supply chain management applications.

Mobile cobots offer exceptional mobility, effortlessly adapting to evolving tasks and seamlessly transitioning between various locations within industrial facilities. Their rapid reprogramming and redeployment capabilities make them a cost-effective and incredibly versatile solution. By harnessing sensor technology and artificial intelligence, they can navigate dynamic environments, overcome obstacles, and collaborate seamlessly with their human counterparts. This adaptability and proficiency in handling monotonous, laborious, or perilous tasks position mobile cobots as the ideal choice for industries seeking to streamline and optimise their operations, such as logistics, warehousing, and supply chain management.

Intralogistics, which entails the management and movement of materials and goods within facilities like warehouses, distribution centres, and manufacturing plants, is increasingly turning to mobile robots for internal material handling and movement. This technology is leading to significant increases in productivity. The logistics industry plays a vital role in the UK economy, contributing approximately £124 billion annually. However, the industry faces a significant shortage of skilled workers, with an anticipated shortfall of 59,000 workers by the end of 2023. This shortage presents significant challenges for businesses in the industry, but those recognising the benefits of automation are successfully overcoming these obstacles and remaining competitive.

Traditionally, the logistics industry has heavily relied on manual processes that involve tasks requiring manual handling, lifting, and extensive internal material movements performed by human operatives. These activities contribute limited value to the business, particularly when considering the associated labour costs. Why not delegate these repetitive and monotonous tasks to automation, freeing up skilled workers to focus on more intricate and high-value responsibilities, such as inventory management, order processing, and packing?

As cutting-edge technologies, like robotics, reshape the future of the supply chain, optimising process flows for an industry pressured by increased demand and fluctuating markets, businesses considering the adoption of automation can enhance their existing processes by utilising mobile cobots.

One such solution is the KMR iisy from KUKA. Designed for flexibility and reliability in demanding production facilities and warehouse settings, KMR iisy is an excellent choice for Industry 4.0 applications, as a smart logistics partner. The KMR mobile cobot can move quickly and safely in various workspaces. Its versatility means it can be used at assembly workstations, in intralogistics, and as a robot service system. Consisting of the LBR iisy with a load capacity of either 11 or 15kg and a mobile platform that can carry an additional 200kg, the KMR iisy sets the bar high for logistics 4.0. They use differential drive for manoeuvrability and can adapt autonomously to their designated routes for efficient navigation around your production facility, even charging themselves at a charging station or during workflows.

Imagine a scenario. In a busy e-commerce warehouse, the decision was made to improve the order fulfilment process. A KMR iisy could be introduced to help move and pick items instead of relying on manual workers, navigating the warehouse, and delivering items to human workers for packing. Mistakes could be mitigated, and order accuracy improved. As a result, business efficiency and output could improve while also making the work environment more comfortable for employees, who can focus on high-value tasks like quality control and customer service.

The introduction of mobile cobots in intralogistics holds the potential to revolutionise the efficiency and productivity of businesses, clearing the path for a future devoid of bottlenecks and offering a competitive edge.

www.kuka.com

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