Despite all the fear mongering about how robots will take over jobs, facts are clear. With more than six million jobs currently available in the industrial and distribution sectors, there simply are not enough workers to fill those jobs. The shortage in labor combined with the continued costs increase in compensation, benefits, and onboarding due to turnover, has pushed the warehousing and distribution markets to invest heavily in automation.
Robotic solutions are best suited to provide consistent results to repetitive operations. Most plant floor product transfers fit this criteria therefore it is both logical and optimal to implement an automated solution such as robotics. This form of automation is more justifiable than ever due to lower initial costs, quicker ROI’s, and solution modularity. E-Commerce fulfillment centers today have completely altered the methodology of order picking by having AGV’s (Automated Guided Vehicles) bring product to the packing area instead of an employee hiking through the warehouse hunting the products on each order. This change allows a high level of multitasking within the order fulfillment process with less labor as well as fewer errors.
With a focus on “Adaptive Conveying” solutions, Alfacon manufactures material handling appliances that provide AGV’s with the capability to perform tasks in addition to transporting product from A to B. The Alfacon appliance allows the mobile solution to provide functions that are typically required when receiving and releasing products during the material handling process. Alfacon AGV appliances are engineered to reside on and communicate to the AGV while built to the specification of the application. A wide variety of load types such as cartons, totes, bins, tubs, and pallets can be accommodated.
The result of a well implemented mobile material handling solution can provide an effective use of floor space, just-in-time delivery, balancing/sequencing of material flow, lean processing, scalability, improved quality, ergonomics, and improved uptime. Typical examples include solutions designed to optimize inbound receiving, materials storage, work-in-process staging, picking, kitting, and shipping. Unlike off-the-shelf conveyor solutions, an industrial engineered approach to the development of each system solution provides a best-in-class process improvement solution.
Alfacon Solutions (https://alfaconsolutions.com) is a leading custom material handling solutions company providing custom design, engineering, manufacturing and installation support for its customer base of small manufacturers to Fortune 500 companies. Its products include lifting equipment, package and pallet handling conveyors, sortation systems, truck loaders, extendable and vertical conveyors, belt and roller conveyor systems and AGV appliances.