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Gripping Technology Assumes A Key Position In The Autonomous Warehouse

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Gripping Technology Assumes A Key Position In The Autonomous Warehouse
Gripping Technology Assumes A Key Position In The Autonomous Warehouse

Video: Gripping Technology Assumes A Key Position In The Autonomous Warehouse

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Drivers for ever more modern automation systems are not only new technological possibilities, but above all the customers: They demand individualized products that should be available in the right quantity in the right place as quickly as possible. Companies are adapting to this by increasingly networking their factories against the background of Industry 4.0, making them smarter, trimming for efficiency and aligning them as flexibly as possible.

The vision of an autonomous warehouse

For example, warehouse: If in the past the build-up of a warehouse and the connected processes could mostly be planned reliably, today companies have to adjust to changing conditions. Because the product structure is constantly changing, often no two orders are the same. This also applies to business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer business.

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For the B2C sector, for example, the Federal Association for E-Commerce and Mail Order Germany eV (bevh) published impressive data for 2015: Sales of goods in online retail amounted to around EUR 46.90 billion - growth of twelve percent compared to the previous year. The clothing segment was the frontrunner in the product groups, followed by electronics / telecommunications and books / e-books. Online retailers such as Amazon or Zalando are therefore required to make their warehouses as flexible as possible in order to achieve the highest possible delivery flexibility and accuracy. The vision: an autonomous, self-thinking and self-negotiating warehouse.

Growing demands on gripping technology

What does such a vision mean for automation and especially gripping technology? "The demands on gripping technology are increasing enormously," says Walter Dunkmann, head of the vacuum automation business area at J. Schmalz GmbH. The vacuum specialist has been intensively concerned with the contribution that gripping technology can make to more intelligent, efficient and flexible production processes for years. For example, the company recently launched a vacuum and pressure switch that sends important process data directly to the user's smartphone or tablet via NFC (Near Field Communication).

Schmalz is also working on various solutions for the vision of an autonomous warehouse, working closely with research institutions, customers and other market partners. “Conventional gripping systems are usually limited to a defined handling task, both in terms of the gripping means and the control technology. In addition, they can only be adapted to changed requirements to a limited extent,”says Walter Dunkmann. “Robots in an autonomous warehouse don't just have to be mobile, they also have to cope with the constantly changing conditions: for example, they have to be able to grip a wide variety of goods - books as well as shoe boxes or electronic items. At the same time, we need systems that bring intelligence, deliver data,learn more and do the work together with the people on site - possibly up to human-robot cooperation.”

Content of the article:

  • Page 1: Gripping technology assumes a key position in the autonomous warehouse
  • Page 2: Compressed air reaches its limits in vacuum generation

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