5 ways robots could change warehouse design

Robotics is one of the fastest-growing trends in logistics right now, with more distribution centers turning to the technology to improve workflows and boost efficiency.

However, warehouses and distribution centers must offer specific design details to effectively support the advanced automated equipment, according to DC Velocity.

Here are five ways warehouse design may change to accommodate robots.

1. The "big empty box:" The most convenient way to create a robotic warehouse is to start from scratch, according to Doug Rabeneck, a director at the business and technology consulting firm West Monroe Partners.

"Your building just needs to be a big empty box," he told DC Velocity.

While this approach is more expensive than retrofitting an existing warehouse with robotics, it avoids the challenge of overlaying a new robotic system on the warehouse's existing workforce and systems, Mr. Rabeneck said.

2. Temperature: While warehouse workers might prefer the facility to be 70 degrees, robots might want it to be 50 degrees, according to Tom Galluzzo, founder and CEO of Iam Robotics in Pittsburgh.

3. Interior design: People would happily walk around on carpeting all day, but robots don't function well on carpets,

"We look for pristine, bare, flat concrete floors," Mr. Galluzzo told DC Velocity. "We've been in places with hundred-year-old wooden floors and they're really beat up. To drive robots on that would be like driving your car on cobblestones all day long."

4. Protection from the elements: A warehouse with robotics needs to be insulated from the elements. Robots cannot operate anywhere near a loading dock where rain or snow could blow in and affect their electronics, said Mr. Galluzzo in the report.

5. Building up or out: A company planning to use rolling robots in its warehouse would want a vast, one-story facility, but a company planning to use robotic cranes would need a building with extra vertical space.


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