With the current economic, environmental and social challenges, the transition to Industry 4.0 is becoming strategic. This transition to the industry of the future involves optimizing intralogistics processes. This article deals with the importance of intralogistics and the stakes of automation and robotization of intralogistics.
What is intralogistics?
Intralogistics concerns all actions related to the company's internal logistics: flows and movements, processes or goods stock management. It is a strategic function because the process starts with the reception of raw materials, goes through the supply of production lines, the storage, the packaging and dispatching of finished products.
The management of internal flows is today perceived as a strong lever to optimize the supply chain. In a world where products must be delivered in the shortest possible time and without error, internal logistics involves many human and material resources.
What are the solutions to optimize intralogistics flows?
Many solutions exist to optimize intralogistics flows, such as the use of Big Data, automation, and robotization.
The use of Big Data enables continuous improvement of intralogistics. Indeed, the data collected makes it possible to analyse the performance of intralogistics processes and thus to determine the blockages and the levers for improvement. Big Data technology makes it possible to anticipate, and therefore, make the necessary changes in time.
Automation means that machines are used to replace human strength in order to spare operators from repetitive and arduous tasks. A structured reflection allows the automation of the supply chain to gain in fluidity and productivity. Indeed, it increases the speed of processing, eliminates unnecessary tasks (e.g., numerous journeys), and replaces operators for low value-added tasks.
Nowadays, several types of robots exist to optimize intralogistics flows, such as AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) and AMRs (see our article on the differences between AGVs and AMRs). AMRs or autonomous mobile robots are mobile and collaborative robotics solutions that increase productivity and lower costs. They take on low value-added tasks such as transporting loads, transferring parts or loading and unloading containers.
The stakes of automation and robotization
Automation and robotization are solutions to opt for when optimizing intralogistics flows. Indeed, they make flows more fluid while increasing the pace, and reducing errors. Productivity is thus improved. Furthermore, automation and robotization are solutions that work continuously. Their operational capacity is therefore remarkably interesting. In addition, these solutions address the current labour shortage in the industry by taking over low value-added tasks, allowing operators to concentrate on value-creating tasks. Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) are the most advanced solutions for optimizing intralogistics flows. These autonomous robots are perfectly integrated into evolving industrial environments.
Sherpa Mobile Robotics solutions
Sherpa Mobile Robotics offers autonomous mobile robots (AMR). This is an intralogistics 4.0 solution that optimizes internal logistics. With its robots, Sherpa focuses on safety, simplicity, and speed. The robots are equipped with numerous sensors and a 360° Lidar to ensure the safety of the solution. They are also quick and easy to set up and use. Indeed, this innovative technology is accessible to all, and only requires a few hours of training to learn how to use it. Moreover, Sherpa robots greatly improve the productivity and working conditions of operators.
Sherpa currently offers two models: the Sherpa-B and the Sherpa-P. The Sherpa-B is used to transport containers. The Sherpa-P is dedicated to the transport of pallets. Both models can be configured according to requirements. The Sherpa-B can, for example, be equipped with a conveyor module to automate the loading and unloading of containers.
How to successfully automate your intralogistics flows?
In order to make a successful transition to the factory of the future by automating intralogistics flows, certain aspects need to be taken into account. First of all, all flows and processes must be analysed. Thanks to this analysis, the automation can be adapted to the company's needs. Secondly, it is necessary to coordinate the automation of flows with all the company's departments, particularly the IT department, the human resources department and the financial department. Indeed, the automation of flows does not only impact the logistics and production departments, but the whole company. This is why communication between the various departments is a necessity. Finally, as with any change, the automation of intralogistics flows must be accompanied by the appropriate management in order to involve all the people concerned and to make this transition smoothly.