Flexible solutions – Automation to grow | Warehouse & Logistics News

The global warehouse automation market will grow from GBP21.9bn in 2020 to GBP51bn in 2025, new research reveals. Fixed automation such as AS/RS, conveyors and conveyor-based sorters will remain the most common form of automation for the foreseeable future, but there is a rapidly growing trend for warehouses to adopt more flexible mobile automation solutions. Owing to the pandemic, many companies saw a plateau in warehouse automation revenue, whilst order intake increased significantly.

This was due to delays in project completion and supply chain limitations. As a result of this, Interact Analysis, which conducted the research, predicts that over the next year, the warehouse automation market will endure a period of stabilisation as the market re-equilibrates and catches up on the backlog of orders. This article was first published in the January 15th 2022 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here[1].

Omnichannel retailers who are trying to move shoppers to their online channels face challenges of profitability and loyalty. Retailers are still struggling to personalise online services to achieve a stronger emotional brand affiliation than they had previously been able to do with relative ease through the in-store environment. TGW works with omnichannel retailers to understand the different ways in which they can move away from the current limitations and constraints of their existing online fulfilment solutions and move to new, innovative, last-mile delivery models that have significantly higher levels of resilience and capacity for the future.

De Bijenkorf's new 32,159 sq m central warehouse in Tilburg, Netherlands required an automated solution that offered a sortation capacity of up to 8,000 items per hour, and could handle both e-commerce multi-item and store orders. Vanderlande delivered its advanced AIRTRAX Pocket - the first large-scale system of its kind in The Netherlands. AIRTRAX Pocket is an innovative and reliable solution for transporting, sequencing and storing hanging goods.

With the launch of its LiDAR-LOC 2 solution, SICK has made it easy to teach mobile machines virtual paths in order to enhance, expand, or replace physical floor-based guidance systems that use taped lines or 2D-codes. The SICK LiDAR-LOC 2 is a virtual line guidance system designed to enhance the physical line or code-reading systems of all kinds of automated mobile robots. It creates a virtual path to bridge a gap in a broken tape on the floor, or to add a deviation from the current line-guided path without having to go to the time and expense of laying down new lines or bar codes.

Working alongside the manual fulfilment stations at the distribution centre of German electrical supplies wholesaler Obeta near Berlin, KNAPP's Pick-it-Easy Robot was deployed with minimal downtime and was operational within days. It achieves a peak speed of 600 items per hour (depending on order flow), which is equivalent to the manual workstations - although, of course, it can maintain this speed over a much longer period. The robot picks with an accuracy of 99% despite having to learn new items each week.

By partially replacing manual labour, automation and robotics are helping warehouses meet the increased demand created by the rising e-commerce market.

George Simpson

Features Editor


  1. ^ clicking here (warehousenews.co.uk)