Mobile robots have been used in manufacturing for decades, but thanks to their shrinking costs and the needs for businesses to increase efficiencies and lower expenses, they are starting to appear more frequently in warehouse and distribution applications.
Corey Ryan, medical account manager for KUKA Robotics, based in Shelby Township, Michigan, said that in recent years robots have been showing up in more and more businesses, not just manufacturing.
“We increased interest in mobile robotics across all industries,” Ryan told the website Robotics Online. “The ability of one mobile robot to service several locations and perform a greatly expanded range of task offers a great appeal for specialized applications.”
Giant Eagle Uses Robots to Cut Warehouse Costs
One success story is Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, a leading supermarket chain that operates in four Eastern states. The company currently is using pallet-handling mobile robots in its 440,000-square-foot food distribution center outside of Pittsburgh. Four double pallet robots, which resemble driver-less forklift truck, handle much of the facility’s putaway operations. Another four mobile robots are being used at a Giant Eagle distribution center in Cleveland, Ohio.