“About 70 percent of U.S. warehouses plan to invest in robotic technologies,” said Reuven Della Torre, Caja Robotics’ vice president of technology, who explains that the right robotic solutions help increase the company’s profits in the relatively short term.
The global warehousing robotics market is estimated at $ 3.97 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach $ 7.63 billion by 2026. The main reasons for the jump are the strengthening of the Internet of Things (IIoT) trend and secure networks and smart devices that enable industries to perform a variety of tasks Picking, ordering, packing, warehouse security and inspection.
Della Torre points out that there are several reasons for moving to robots operated by robots. “One is recruiting and retaining manpower,” he explains. “Today there is significant difficulty in recruiting and retaining manpower to perform tasks in the warehouse, which are physical but require precision and training and by their nature can be carried out automatically and robotically.
“About 60% of the work time along the shift is ‘wasted’ on walking in the warehouse to locate the relevant item. Task optimization for faster collection and delivery is possible when this parameter is gone. A lot of money”. He adds that the Corona period has raised the need for social distance in warehouses as well, and therefore solutions are being sought that allow for regular work capacity and space in the warehouse. “A robotic solution enables maximum efficiency in warehouse management, work in additional shifts around the clock, utilization of space, inventory management, addressing changing needs, addressing an increase in demand that the market is constantly experiencing.“
The Israeli start.up Caja Robotics, located in Binyamina and holding a subsidiary in the US, has so far raised $ 26 million from funds and private investors. The company’s CEO is Dr. Ilan Cohen, behind the sale of Servotronics to the Chinese giant Midea. Caja Robotics’ solution includes Two types of robots, combined with unique software developed by the company, including the robots and the company’s systems in Sela Logistics warehouses in Ashdod, as well as fully operating in the logistics center of Bergen Logistics in New Jersey, Metropolitan New York.
“Our technology combines three parameters,” explains Della Terra, “software, robots and workstations. Our cloud.based software is the conductor of the orchestra. Using advanced AI and algorithms, it completely controls warehouse management, robot movements and order management. The software tracks time. Verifies the backlog of orders and changes and performs optimization to improve and streamline operations and storage space. “
He adds that their types of robots allow for synergy work and warehouse optimization. The LIFT robot has the ability to reach great heights, is responsible for arranging the incoming crates, optimizing the warehouse and promoting the crates required for collection by the second robot. The CART robot is a fast robot that can move quickly, and is responsible for bringing the relevant crates. “The two robots can handle the delivery of boxes of different materials and sizes to the workstations.“
“Speed and efficiency for online”
“The e.commerce market is growing at an accelerated pace, and with it has risen consumers’ expectations for fast service,” says Shirley Bachar, Fabric’s director of commercial operations in Israel. “Our research shows that 65% of consumers will consider switching from the online site from which they make their home purchases on a regular basis, if they do not have the option of same.day delivery. Retailers already understand that they need to make adjustments to meet these expectations and produce a long.term solution. The online activity in an efficient and profitable manner.
“Automation of the collection process, using robots and software, addresses this challenge by enabling speed and efficiency in online retailers. The hardware and software developed by Fabric make it possible to produce high output relative to the facility area and reduce manpower costs,” she emphasizes.
Fabric develops technology that includes both the software and the robotic collection facilities themselves. The company works in Israel with Rami Levy and Super Pharm and with Walmart, Retirement Direct and Insta Cart, the leading food companies in the United States. Today, the company operates and operates robotic collection facilities (MFC) for retailers in New York, Washington, Tel Aviv, Holon, Beer Sheva and Emek Hefer. In the coming months the company is expected to expand to five more areas across the United States.
“Our product, Micro Fulfillment Center,” she explains, “was designed and built specifically to fit small areas within city centers and to meet the need for speed, efficiency and elasticity, thus enabling retailers to meet consumer demands for immediate service while providing the best service experience. Of Fabrik to enter small areas within city centers and allow high output in relation to square meters produces the optimal combination of proximity to the customer and costs. “
The technology developed by Fabrik consists of hardware and software and includes several components, including the Ground robot, which moves along the floor and transports goods, Lift robot, one of the few in the world that knows how to move on the shelf vertically and horizontally and pull out the relevant boxes.
Bachar notes that in their collection facilities they saw a jump of about 250% in orders with the outbreak of the corona plague. “The Corona has also reinforced the need to be close to the customer and pushed retailers to develop a same.day delivery service.” “Retailers understand that when online activity becomes a significant share of sales, it is impossible to continue to rely on manual collection solutions, both in terms of profitability and in terms of the customer experience online and in the physical store.“
“When the collection takes place inside the store, it interferes with the customer’s shopping experience in the physical store. Fabric’s solution allows retailers to enjoy both worlds – stay close to the customer and generate profitable activity. From facilities that house several retailers or suppliers. “
“Craving for working hands”
Prof. Assaf Avrahami, CEO of the Israeli software company Calculators, emphasizes that with the growth of e.commerce and the increase in demand, which even strengthened following the Corona crisis, supply chains are required to meet needs. “,” He explains. “Dedicated information systems for forecasting, systems for recommending the amount of inventory required in each intermediate warehouse, systems that recommend optimal travel routes, automated warehouses, logistics centers and more. All of them are used by leading organizations in these fields and make it possible to streamline the supply chain.
“The focus in future developments will be in the areas of advanced models, which will recommend which items to keep in stock,” adds Prof. Avrahami. “Machine learning models, which will recommend what buyers are interested in buying, and models for inventory management. We also see a phenomenon of outsourcing companies in every supply chain management issue, since this issue requires expertise and not every organization is able to address these issues.
“In my view, there is absolutely no danger of losing workers in favor of efficiency, the models and methods will require more skilled manpower to operate the various systems and respond to demand. We have seen in the last year that the shipping and supply chain is desperate for working hands.“
Dr. Yehuda Elmaleh, former Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and a lecturer in the Faculty of Computer Science in the College of Management’s academic track, believes that most – if not all – of the warehouses will rely on robotics. And launches a new product that will connect the operating robots to the cloud environment.
Dr. Elmaleh notes the acquisition of the robotics company hoped for by shipping giant Amazon in 2012 as a turning point: “It changed the whole perception. All their warehouses are completely robotic, and they move and bring the goods to the concentration point. Since then, more and more companies that are engaged in this have started to emerge.
“There are robots that are entering the world of large warehouses but you will see a little more and more in small stores as well. We have customers in the US who are already using robots to arrange the warehouses. With this, the increase in purchases through the Internet, in stores and writers, increases the pace at which the products need to be collected, and this is where robots come into the picture that help streamline the existing situation. We are talking about warehouses, writers, super.pharmacies and more, which will be completely robotic. It took a while to get in, but in the next decade it will be the most natural thing, and there will be almost no stores without a robot that will fix the warehouse. ”