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The Rise of Robots

Gatwick Airport last week announced it is introducing a trial of valet-parking robots to increase the number of cars it can hold in its car parks. As the development of robotic technology accelerates, we take a closer look with our AGV expert Jens Roevens at the impact it is having on the logistics and supply chain industry:


“It is no surprise that large scale commercial businesses like Gatwick Airport are looking to introduce robots to their operations. The need to provide a hassle free experience and process more customers is a priority for many businesses at the moment, especially as demand continues to increase.

“We are seeing the same in the warehousing industry. AGVs offer reductions in labour, product loss, and miss shipments, whilst saving on space and offering easy installation. What’s not to love?

“Of course AGVs are currently slower than manual forklift trucks and have been known to easily react to vehicle errors triggered by the environment. However, the pros far out way the cons as more and more warehouse operations look to cost effective and flexible solutions to improve productivity.

“So where is best to start when looking at AGV robotics in your warehouse? In my opinion there are two areas where AGVs offer the best solution:

  1. Continuous pallet flows – If your business is supplying goods to the production line and then transporting the finished product to the warehouse.
  2. Warehouse racks of a certain height – if you have racks up to 14m high and 150 long, then very narrow aisle (VNA) trucks are easy to deploy within existing warehouse buildings and can deal with a wide range of loads.

“My advice to any business looking to introduce AGVs to their warehouse would be to identify challenges unique to their supply chain and map accordingly. Whilst AGVs offer the promise of warehouse efficiency increases, which will ultimately impact your bottom line, if you don’t understand how this technology can fully benefit your supply chain, then potential issues that arise can be costly.

“Working with an automation expert is always advised to get your warehouse operation ready for robots.

Conveyor Networks can offer an impartial and honest advice, helping you select the right solution for your layout, order volumes, throughputs and most importantly budget.