Inside the Smart Warehouse

January 01, 2020

The future is here! It’s the dawn of a new decade, and we’re so excited for all of the technological advances ahead of us. Admittedly we’re still pretty bummed out about the no flying cars thing… but packaging has some exciting sci-fi developments up its sleeves!

Studies show that packaging robots will be a $4,649 million industry by 2023, and that’s just the beginning. Let’s take a look into the smart warehouse, and see how artificial intelligence is paving the way into the bold robotic future.

Packaging machines get smarter

It’s a connected world we live in. Thanks to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), packaging machines can collect more data than ever before and glean insights that improve your business in real time. 

In the IIoT world, every package is an opportunity to collect data. How much shrink wrap it needed, how much energy it took to move down the conveyor belt, how likely your machine is to damage it… The job of AI is to analyze those millions of data points every day and put them to work for you. 

Gone are the days of reactive maintenance. Artificial learning helps smart machines recognize kinks in the system and tackle them proactively. If a part starts to show signs of wear, the machine can reach out to its manufacturer and order replacement parts — well before it ever affects productivity. We’re not saying we called it… but we totally called it.

Reducing downtime is a huge perk, but you can expect efficiencies across the board when you bring AI into your warehouse. Smart machines can pinpoint where materials are being wasted, and make adjustments on the fly. Small optimizations over time mean smoother sailing on the warehouse floor and a better outlook for your bottom line. 

Automation on the go

Traditional warehouses are arranged for optimal efficiency. Big, heavy machines sit in one place often for decades at a time, with conveyor belts carrying packages between them. The floor plan just works… but what about when it doesn’t?

Consumer habits are rapidly changing. Warehouses are shipping more packages to more places than ever before, and flexibility is more important than ever. Static layouts might not cut it in the future, but AI and the IIoT can help warehouses adapt to meet consumer demands.

Image courtesy of Mobile Industrial Robots

Meet the 21st-century pack mule. These mobile robots deliver cargo between processing points, and they can move freely through the warehouse. They can also tap into data to scope out congested areas along their route. Just like your GPS! Being able to quickly reroute means packages get to their next destination on time.

If you don’t know where to start with automation, lean on Ernest. With our product implementation and support services, we can hook you up with the right machines for the job and keep it running smoothly. No matter how robotic the future looks, we’ll always be at your side with a human touch.